As seven Swiss companies including retailers Migros, Migrol, Agrola and Fenaco created an association  to develop a  national network of filling stations for hydrogen powered vehicles  to fuel their own vehicles with hydrogen by 2023, the EU Commission published its action plan for batteries on May 18, 2018.  In October 2016, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) installed the nation’s first hydrogen fuelling station for fuel cell cars at their research campus in Dübendorf, canton Zurich, a month later Coop inaugurated the first public hydrogen fuelling station in Hunzenschwil, canton Aargau. Together the seven companies have more than 1,500 service stations and own 1,700 heavy vehicles. They say that together they can develop a nationwide hydrogen fuelling infrastructure. A fleet of ten lorries is enough to make a hydrogen fuelling station viable, according to the press release.

On May 17, 2018 the Commission adopted a comprehensive set of concrete measures to develop an innovative, sustainable and competitive battery ‘ecosystem’ in Europe. The plan aims to:

  • secure access to raw materials from resource-rich countries outside the EU and facilitate access to European sources of raw materials, as well as access secondary raw materials by recycling in a circular economy of batteries
  • support scaled European battery cell manufacturing and a full competitive value chain in Europe. the Alliance isl bringing key industry players and national authorities together and work in partnership with EU countries and the EIB to support integrated (cross-border) manufacturing projects at scale
  • strengthen industrial leadership through accelerated research and innovation support to advanced (e.g. Lithium-ion) and disruptive (e.g. solid state) technologies
  • develop and strengthen a highly skilled workforce along the whole value chain to close the skills gap. This includes providing adequate training at EU and country level, re-skilling and upskilling, and making Europe attractive for world-class experts in the field
  • support the sustainability of EU battery cell manufacturing industry with the lowest environmental footprint possible. This entails setting requirements for safe and sustainable battery production in Europe
  • ensure consistency with the broader EU regulatory and enabling framework (Clean Energy Strategy and Mobility Packages, trade policy, etc.)

It also reiterates the funding still available in this financial period for research and innovation: €110 million is still up for grabs for purely battery-related matters, while as much as €2 billion could be claimed from the European Innovation Council for “next generation projects”. The European Investment Bank recently agreed to pump over €50 million into a planned battery factory in Sweden, which is helmed by former Tesla employee Peter Carlsson. That would complement an already-up-and-running facility in Poland, which is Europe’s largest battery plant.