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EVs, Components Will Top $1 Trillion by 2030

FILE - GMC Hummer EVs are seen on an assembly line at he General Motors Factory ZERO electric vehicle assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan. Taken Nov. 17, 2021.
FILE - GMC Hummer EVs are seen on an assembly line at he General Motors Factory ZERO electric vehicle assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan. Taken Nov. 17, 2021.

The world's top automakers are planning to spend nearly $1.2 trillion through 2030 to develop and produce millions of electric vehicles, along with the batteries and raw materials to support that production, according to a Reuters analysis of public data and projections released by those companies.

The EV investment figure, which has not been previously published, dwarfs previous investment estimates by Reuters.

It's also more than twice the most recent calculation published just a year ago.

Automakers have forecast plans to build 54 million battery electric vehicles in 2030, representing more than 50% of total vehicle production, according to the analysis.

Leading the charge is Tesla, where Chief Executive Elon Musk has outlined an audacious plan to build 20 million EVs in 2030, requiring an estimated 3 terawatt-hours of batteries. Musk in late October said Tesla already is working on a smaller vehicle platform targeted to cost half as much as the Model 3 and Model Y.

Germany's Volkswagen, while lagging behind Tesla, has ambitious plans through the end of the decade, targeting well over $100 billion to build out its global EV portfolio, add new battery "gigafactories" in Europe and North America and lock up supplies of key raw materials.

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. is investing $70 billion to electrify vehicles and produce more batteries, and expects to sell at least 3.5 million battery electric models (BEVs) in 2030. It plans at least 30 different BEVs and expects to transition the entire Lexus range to battery electric over that span.

Ford Motor Co. keeps boosting its spending level on new EVs - now at $50 billion - and at least 240 gigawatt-hours of battery capacity with its partners as it aims to produce around 3 million BEVs in 2030 - half its total volume.

Mercedes-Benz has earmarked at least $47 billion for EV development and production, nearly two-thirds of that to boost its global battery capacity with partners to more than 200 gigawatt-hours.

BMW, Stellantis and General Motors each plan to spend at least $35 billion on EVs and batteries, with Stellantis laying out the most aggressive battery program: A planned 400 gigawatt-hours of capacity with partners by 2030, including four plants in North America.

To support that unprecedented level of EVs, carmakers and their battery partners are planning to install 5.8 terawatt-hours of battery production capacity by 2030, according to data from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and the manufacturers.

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Dispute Over Technology Impedes Morocco Solar Projects

FILE —Aerial view of the Noor 3 solar power station, near Ouarzazate, southern Morocco, April. 1, 2017. The king unveiled one of the world's biggest solar plants, taking advantage of the Sahara sunshine and a growing global push for renewable energy.
FILE —Aerial view of the Noor 3 solar power station, near Ouarzazate, southern Morocco, April. 1, 2017. The king unveiled one of the world's biggest solar plants, taking advantage of the Sahara sunshine and a growing global push for renewable energy.

RABAT —A dispute over concentrated solar power (CSP) technology is behind years of delays to Morocco's biggest planned solar project after problems at another prominent plant that caused long shut downs, three sources close to the project said.

FILE —A picture taken on February 4, 2016 shows an aerial view of the solar mirrors at the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant, some 20Km (12.5 miles) outside the central Moroccan town of Ouarzazate, ahead of its inauguration.
FILE —A picture taken on February 4, 2016 shows an aerial view of the solar mirrors at the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant, some 20Km (12.5 miles) outside the central Moroccan town of Ouarzazate, ahead of its inauguration.

Morocco has some of the most ambitious green energy goals of any developing nation, aiming for renewables to represent 52% of installed capacity by 2030 from 37.6% now, mostly through investments in solar and wind plants.

However, it is already falling behind on solar, with only 831 megawatts (MW) installed so far compared to the 2,000 MW that was planned for 2020. Wind has made up some of the shortfall but polluting coal plants still make up most output. Construction has not even started on the planned $2 billion 800 MW Noor Midelt I plant, which was meant to start operating this year, after the Energy Ministry and grid operator ONEE rejected the proposed CSP technology, the sources said.

FILE —An aerial view of the solar mirrors at the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant, some 20Km (12.5 miles) outside the central Moroccan town of Ouarzazate on February 4, 2016.
FILE —An aerial view of the solar mirrors at the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant, some 20Km (12.5 miles) outside the central Moroccan town of Ouarzazate on February 4, 2016.

State energy agency MASEN awarded the contract to develop Noor Midelt I in 2019 to a consortium led by EDF Renouvelables. It asked for the plant to have both photovoltaic (PV) technology, which is cheaper but has little ability to store power, and CSP, which is more expensive but continue powering the grid for hours after dark.

However, after the contract was awarded ONEE and the Energy Ministry said they would only agree to buy the power if MASEN either abandoned CSP for PV or changed from thermal salt energy storage to batteries, the sources said.

MASEN and the grid eventually signed a power purchase agreement, but there are still discussions between MASEN and the development consortium over the technology specifications, the sources said.

MASEN says the project was delayed due to the pandemic and is now in the final stage of development but it did not respond to a specific Reuters request for comment on the technology dispute.

FILE—Pablo Ines, of Spain, walks in the building site of Morocco's Noor I solar power plant, near Ouarzazate, Morocco, April, 24, 2015 .
FILE—Pablo Ines, of Spain, walks in the building site of Morocco's Noor I solar power plant, near Ouarzazate, Morocco, April, 24, 2015 .

EDF Renouvelables said Morocco had decided to restart the development in 2022 with a mix of PV, CSP and battery storage. It said the project was "at the final stage of development" and all partners "remain committed."

The Energy Ministry did not comment directly on the problems at Noor Midelt but it said it "tries to be as technology agnostic" as it can as long as costs, sustainability and security objectives are maintained to avoid undue risk.

The World Bank and the European Investment Bank said their financing terms for the project remain valid as discussions continue between MASEN and the consortium. The World Bank said construction will take 30 months once negotiations end.

CSP Plant Difficulties

ONEE cited problems at Noor Ouarzazate, Morocco's best-known solar complex, as the reason for wanting MASEN to change the technology at Noor Midelt, the sources said.

FILE — King Mohammed VI of Morocco waves a Moroccan flag as Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy CEO Mustapha Bakkoury, 2nd right, applauds during the launch of the Noor Ouarzazate 4 solar plant, in Ouarzazate, central Morocco, April 1, 2017.
FILE — King Mohammed VI of Morocco waves a Moroccan flag as Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy CEO Mustapha Bakkoury, 2nd right, applauds during the launch of the Noor Ouarzazate 4 solar plant, in Ouarzazate, central Morocco, April 1, 2017.

Technological problems stopped all output at a 150 MW plant there for a year from summer 2021, said two of the sources. "Noor Ouarzazate helped put Morocco on the global map of large-scale renewable energy projects. But a closer look in terms of operation costs and maintenance issues show that the plant is rather a liability," said a source close to Noor Midelt I.

"With hindsight, Ouarzazate served as a testing ground for an immature CSP technology," said another source.

Morocco's economic, social, and environmental council recommended abandoning CSP altogether in a 2020 report due to its high cost compared to PV and wind. That report said MASEN was operating an $80 million a year deficit at the Noor Ouarzazate complex because it is selling power for less than the production cost.

MASEN, which commissioned Noor Ouarzazate, said the plant had shown "good performance in 2023 both on peak and off-peak hours." It added that CSP technology was a solution that offers storage, helping address grid needs at peak hours.

ACWA Power, the developer of Noor Ouarzazate, and grid operator ONEE did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.

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