DRC Cobalt: A potential achilles heel of electric vehicles – by Michael Schwartz (Global Risks Insight – October 5, 2018)

Global Risks Insight

Cobalt’s essential role in lithium-ion batteries has and will continue to make it increasingly important for the global consumer economy. Cobalt serves as a key component in battery-based devices by allowing them to operate over longer periods without overheating.

With the global transition to electric vehicles (EVs), corporations are increasingly forced to rely on cobalt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where a culture of corruption, unscrupulous mining practices, and political instability threaten supply security.

The Electric Vehicle revolution and rising demand for cobalt

EVs are still in their infancy, but many governments and corporations are committed to a green automotive future. While Washington has currently abdicated global leadership in promoting EVs, China has embraced the transition, with 777,000 EVs sold in country last year—approximately half of the global total—and this is set to triple by 2025.

China is not the only nation planning rapid EV expansion. In July 2017, Great Britain announced a ban on the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2040, and other nations have proposed similar targets, following the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. In the private sector, automakers have announced large-scale plans to electrify their fleet of vehicles.

For example, Volkswagen aims for a quarter of its vehicle production to be electric by 2025. The growth of electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies—the largest energy shift in a century–could depend largely on the availability and cost to produce and refine cobalt.

For the rest of this article: https://globalriskinsights.com/2018/10/drc-cobalt-a-potential-achilles-heel-of-electric-vehicles/

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