Renault Group CEO, Luca De Meo calls for European action on the automotive energy transition

  • Renault Group CEO, Luca de Meo, advocates for emobility in Europe’s automotive industry.
  • His open letter calls for collective action and emphasises the importance of collaboration.
  • de Meo’s vision positions EVs as key to Europe’s sustainability and competitiveness.

Luca de Meo pens open letter calling for political action in Europe to support emobility

Renault Group CEO, Luca de Meo, is championing electric vehicles (EVs) as a cornerstone of Europe’s automotive future. In an open letter directed at European political leaders, de Meo articulates a compelling vision for a thriving and sustainable automotive sector.

With the European elections looming, de Meo’s letter is a call for collective action to propel the energy transition. He emphasises the imperative for European mobilisation to ensure the successful integration of EVs into the market landscape.

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de Meo underscores the significance of inter-sectoral collaboration. He draws inspiration from the success stories of initiatives like Airbus: 

“With Airbus, we have already seen what Europe can do. By stepping up co-operative initiatives, we will set our industry on the road to revival.” 

At the heart of de Meo’s vision are concrete proposals aimed at accelerating the adoption of EVs and fostering a competitive market environment. He advocates for the launch of major European projects focused on EV infrastructure development.

de Meo states:

“It is the role of the European Commission to develop a strategic plan for the European electric vehicle charging network to facilitate faster deployment of charging points as part of a master plan, implement a framework to allocate cheap decarbonised energy to the charging network, extend the duration of charging network concessions to attract more operators and provide greater stability for the overall system. This would encourage the development of Vehicle-to-Grid technology by establishing common standards for future projects.”

He goes on to outline the six key challenges facing the European industry:
  • Decarbonisation: Europe’s target for net zero emissions by 2035 necessitates a substantial investment of €252 billion from European car manufacturers.
  • Digital Revolution: Software’s increasing significance in cars is evident as it’s projected to double to 40% of car value by 2030. The mobility software market is expected to grow to over US$100 billion.
  • Regulations: de Meo asserts that the automotive industry grapples with the frequent introduction of new regulations. These demand heightened sophistication, fuel efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. This has led to a 60% increase in average car weight since the 1990s and a corresponding 50% rise in vehicle prices.
  • Technological Volatility: He states that the rapid pace of technological advancements poses challenges, especially in battery technology. It costs between €1 and 3 billion to build a ‘gigafactory’ that may become obsolete soon after establishment.
  • Price Volatility: Drastic fluctuations in prices of critical raw materials like lithium, which increased twelvefold over two years before halving, significantly impact overall car production costs. 
  • Workforce Reskilling: Reskilling of the workforce is imperative, with approximately 25 million industry jobs affected by digital and environmental transitions. This includes significant job displacement in traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) sectors. Additionally, 800,000 employees require training by 2025 to meet the labour demands of the battery manufacturing sector.

de Meo’s advocacy for EVs extends beyond rhetoric to practical recommendations for policy formulation and industry action. He calls upon political leaders, citizens, and stakeholders across sectors to rally behind the EV revolution. The ultimate goal is to position the European automotive industry as a global leader in emobility. Read the full letter, and de Meo’s in-depth recommendations, here.

de Meo’s letter embodies a future where EVs drive not only automotive innovation but also economic growth. As he champions EVs as the linchpin of Europe’s automotive future, de Meo urges stakeholders to seize the opportunity and embark on this transformative journey together. 

His letter is one of many calling upon political action and governmental funding to support the growth of emobility. James Taylor, Managing Director of Vauxhall, wrote an open letter directly to the UK Prime Minister calling for increased adoption incentives. Meanwhile, FairCharge, Auto Trader UK, E.ON, and Charge UK wrote to the UK government calling for financial and political support for the sector.

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