BASF, the largest chemical company in the world, is betting customers will flock to electric cars, using its chemical products to create a battery that will enable vehicles to run longer. BASF, with an annual 1.7 billion-euro ($2.3 billion) research budget, has made battery materials one of 10 areas it’s targeting for growth.
“We are committed,” Adrian Steinmetz, head of global business management at BASF’s battery materials unit, said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Ludwigshafen. “Having this long-term strategy is typical of BASF. It’s the reason why this company has existed for 149 years.”
To become a major supplier for electric cars, BASF needs to challenge the dominance of Asian market leaders Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp., Sumitomo Chemical Co. and LG Chem. Those companies have an advantage in lithium-ion technology, crucial in car batteries and helped by their proximity to the region’s booming electronics, computer and phones industries.