Politicians have decreed that Europeans must embrace electric cars, and to make sure, they are trying to force early retirement for internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles. But a shortage of a key battery component, lithium, might scupper that plan and force carmakers to return to the drawing board.
Experts say current supplies of lithium are adequate for the current electric car global market share of about 2.6% and probably will keep pace with the expected growth towards 14% in Europe by 2025. But after that demand will outstrip supply and likely halt the predicted powerful acceleration in electric car sales.
Some politicians, activists and enthusiasts experts expect battery-electric vehicle (BEV) sales to reach close to 50% of the global market by 2030, but lithium supplies are unlikely to come close to matching that required battery demand.
The European Union (EU) has passed a law insisting that carmakers raise average fuel efficiency on new cars from the equivalent of about 57 miles per U.S. gallon in 2020/2021, to 92 mpg by 2030.