Europe’s car makers are in danger of abandoning the Continent’s prominent position at the cutting edge of automotive technology by ignoring electric vehicle developments.
That was the warning from Britain’s most senior car industry executive, Vauxhall/Opel boss Nick Reilly.
“I think Europe will lose its competitive edge unless we move fast to catch up on electric vehicle and battery technology,” said Reilly in an interview at the Paris motor show.
Reilly reckons that car makers and governments need to work more closely together to develop production-ready battery technology, before Asia and the US corners the market.
“GM, for example, has its own battery design and manufacture for the Volt, but we’re in partnership with a Korean technology company for the batteries,” said Reilly.
His counterpart in China, Kevin Wale, issued a similarly stark warning in an industry speech in the UK this summer.
Wale warned that the Chinese government and car firms were working in tandem to develop EVs, partly for environmental reasons, but also because electric technology offers the easiest route to catch up with western car makers.