The project “could be postponed,” Peter Carlsson told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung.
The battery group announced it would build the plant in March, as Europe seeks to ramp up its capacity to produce electric cars. The factory was expected to open in 2025 and have an annual production capacity of 60 gigawatt hours — enough to supply around one million cars per year.
But it was also to consume up to two terawatt hours per year.
“With current electricity prices, we see the profitability of energy-intense projects in Germany threatened,” Carlsson said.
Germany used to depend on Russia for 55 percent of its gas supplies before the invasion of Ukraine in February, and has since had to find supplies elsewhere at much higher prices, pushing up electricity bills.
The United States was also providing an attractive incentive, Carlsson said, after the US Senate in August approved a clean energy and climate bill that includes a $7,500 tax credit for every American who buys an electric vehicle from a North American factory that installs US-made electric batteries.
Brussels has said this would deeply disadvantage non-US companies that source their batteries elsewhere.
“We are now at a point where we can give priority to expansion in the United States over Europe,” Carlsson said, estimating that producing batteries could cost 30 to 40 percent less there.
“The United States could become the most interesting place in the world to make battery cells,” he added, calling on the European Union to “counter the American financial incentives.”