VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – “The megafactories are coming.” This is the mantra of market analyst, founder and MD of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Simon Moores, citing research showing more than $20-billion currently committed to creating new, or expanding existing lithium- (Li-) ion battery cell plants.
This will take global production capacity from megawatt to gigawatt territory, with the bulk of the activity taking place in China, where massive tooling operations are currently under way.
According to Moores, South Africa-born entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Nevada-based Tesla Gigafactory, which is expected to start production later this year, is leading the ‘capacity revolution’, with a planned total installed production capacity of 35 GWh by 2020.
Other significant expansions include LG Chem Korea, which is more than doubling Li-ion battery output to 20 GWh, and the Chinese Lishen and CATL plants, which are both upgrading from below 5 GWh, to 20 GWh and 25 GWh, respectively.
Lithium-ion battery costs are also falling at an increasing rate, Moores notes. Since 2000, when it cost more than $2 500 for a battery, costs have declined by 12% to 14% a year up to 2015, with Moores expecting that rate to quicken to between 15% and 20% a year between 2016 and 2020.
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