Rising lithium prices could derail the EV boom 

Posted: February 17, 2022 by oldbrew in Analysis, Batteries, Travel
Tags: ,

BMW i3 electric car plus battery pack [image credit: carmagazine.co.uk]


If they’re already struggling to get enough lithium when EVs have only a small market presence, where are the supplies for the massive planned EV expansion supposed to come from, and at what cost in already expensive machines? Mining operations don’t spring up overnight, and time is short if supply is to meet the expected demand from the manufacturers.
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As the price of lithium has skyrocketed over 400% in the past year, the demand for lithium-ion batteries appears more intense than ever, says AG Metal Miner @ OilPrice.com.

Lithium has earned the ‘white petroleum’ label due to its dramatic need for supplies from the rise of battery giga-factories, electric vehicles, powerwalls and energy storage businesses.

Battery makers including Tesla, Panasonic and LG Chem, have to budget for the rising cost of lithium. Batteries that go into electric cars require lithium. More battery makers will need to expand production to keep up with demand from electric cars.

“The demand for lithium-ion batteries is higher than ever,” said Chris Berry, President and strategic metal consultant at House Mountain Partners. “Lithium’s lightness helps it store a lot of energy which is very useful for electronics.” As the price has jumped to nearly $50,000 per ton, some battery manufacturers have raised prices.

Despite microchip shortages and changing demand from customers, the clean energy revolution appears well underway. Volvo Cars committed to putting one million electrified cars on the road by 2025. In addition, 50% of its sales volume will come from fully electric vehicles.

France plans to end sales of all gas and diesel cars by 2040. Whereas Germany has mandated that all new cars will go electric by 2030.

High grade lithium seems hard to find

The quest for EV manufacturers to get access to high-grade lithium appears challenging. The United States and other countries continue to look to disentangle their clean energy supply chains from China.

China currently serves as the leading lithium producer. Thus, an urgency to look in safe geopolitically friendly lithium-rich countries such as Chile has become important.

Continued here.

Comments
  1. Reblogged this on The Most Revolutionary Act and commented:

    As the price of lithium has skyrocketed over 400% in the past year, the demand for lithium-ion batteries appears more intense than ever.

  2. Curious George says:

    I love predictions peppered with “could” or “may”. Just like the climate science.

  3. Saighdear says:

    Yes indeed, could n maybe; PERHAPS they should consider getting IC motors back on track. Had to laugh at AA (?) guy talking about folk making sure their EV Batteries were topped up before going out (before) the big storms. Not like you could take a gallon can with you as reserve, is it, OR if the GRID needs your power overnight – and you’ve an unintended early morning start … just saying.

  4. Coeur de Lion says:

    I dialed up cost of replacement battery for a Nissan Leaf. Surprised at £9,999. Also surprised as it was marked ‘used’.

  5. Chaswarnertoo says:

    ‘Electric’ ( coal fired ) cars ain’t clean.

  6. Phoenix44 says:

    “Lithium’s lightness helps it store a lot of energy…”

    Is that right? I though its low density made it lightweight and its high reactivity made it energy dense?

  7. oldbrew says:

    EV sales are puny…

    Car industry calls for electric charge watchdog
    2 days ago

    However, electric cars remain a tiny fraction of the cars on UK roads, representing just 1.3% of the total.

    Businesses have been leading the way with fleet purchases, but the car industry is pushing for consumers to buy into electric cars too.

    However, many people have concerns about electric cars, with two of the main ones being the cost of buying a car, and whether there are enough charge points, including for longer journeys, the car industry says.

    Last summer MPs also raised concerns about the cost of public charging, saying it was far more expensive than charging a car at home. Energy prices have soared since then.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60394567
    – – –
    Those limited charging points don’t always work and may not like your payment card.

  8. oldbrew says:

    FEBRUARY 16, 2022
    Quantifying California’s lithium valley: Can it power our EV revolution?

    The Salton Sea geothermal field in California potentially holds enough lithium to meet all of America’s domestic battery needs, with even enough left over to export some of it. But how much of that lithium can be extracted in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way? And how long will the resource last? These are just a few of the questions that researchers hope to answer in a new project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
    . . .
    UC Riverside geochemist Michael McKibben, who has been studying the Salton Sea geothermal field since the 1970s, agrees with the potential.

    “If you do a back-of-the-envelope calculation, you can convince yourself there’s somewhere between 1 and 6 million metric tons of lithium in that field,” he said. “That would be the largest brine source of lithium in the world, bigger than any individual South American salar deposit. So, it’s a big number, and it means the potential is there for—again, back-of-the-envelope calculations—something like 50 to 100 years’ worth of lithium production.”

    https://techxplore.com/news/2022-02-quantifying-california-lithium-valley-power.html
    – – –
    Won’t be cheap.

  9. Gamecock says:

    Remember this article on lithium scarcity when the press tells us, petitio principii, about how electric vehicles are taking over the market. They aren’t. They can’t.

  10. […] Rising lithium prices could derail the EV boom  […]

  11. It doesn't add up... says:

    Seems to be rather out of date on lithium prices. Over $63,500/tonne at the moment on my sources, or over 10 times the $6,000/tonne it was selling for about 18 months ago. Plus cobalt and nickel have had a good ride upward, along with carbon anodes. Battery costs have more than doubled compared with a year ago.

    http://www.dailymetalprice.com/metalpricecharts.php?c=li&u=mt&d=480

    Also important has been they way in which China has been buying interests in lithium mines and production. They now control 75% of global battery grade lithium carbonate.

  12. Mark says:

    No doubt we will figure out the best spot to export our pollution to at the cheapest price.
    Keeping in mind that every EV also requires 117 lbs of copper to boot, twice that of combustion engines.

    These will be 1st world virtue signaling play toys and little else, at a substantial cost to the environment.

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