EV Makers’ Next Headache: Scarce Battery Chemicals, Made in China – by Jacky Wong (Wall Street Journal – January 21, 2022)


Lithium used to make electric-vehicle batteries is getting dear; that is only leading edge of supply-chain problem

Last year was the year of electric vehicles—global sales are likely to have hit a record, in turn pushing up battery demand. Now too much of a good thing is causing problems: Many key battery materials, including but not limited to processed lithium itself, are in short supply and prices are rising sharply.

Adding to the geopolitical risks for global auto makers is the supply chain concentrated in a country determined to make itself the EV capital of the world: China.

Lithium is the most spectacular example: Prices of lithium carbonate have quintupled in China from a year earlier, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Other battery materials from nickel to cobalt have also been rising and could remain elevated as new supply will take time to come online. Sustained high costs will eventually pass onto car makers.

The rapid rise in demand for EVs has also created shortages in some lesser known components that go into batteries. For example, Morgan Stanley says supplies of binder material polyvinylidene fluoride or PVDF—used to enable connections between electrodes—will likely be insufficient to meet demand until 2025.

For the rest of this article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/ev-makers-next-headache-scarce-battery-chemicals-made-in-china-11642768194