Biden Administration Begins $3 Billion Plan for Electric Car Batteries – by Lisa Friedman (New York Times – May 2, 2022)

The Biden administration is planning a major shift to electric vehicles, but experts say it requires a secure, resilient supply of critical minerals.

The Biden administration plans to begin a $3.1 billion effort on Monday to spur the domestic production of advanced batteries, which are essential to its plan to speed the adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy.

President Biden has prodded automakers to churn out electric vehicles and utilities to switch to solar, wind and other clean energy, saying the transitions are critical to eliminating the pollution that is dangerously heating the planet.

In the wake of surging energy prices caused largely by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, administration officials also have described the transition to clean energy as a way to insulate consumers from the fluctuation of global oil markets and achieve true energy independence.

Jennifer Granholm, the energy secretary, last week called renewable energy “the greatest peace plan this world will ever know.” Yet currently, lithium, cobalt and other minerals needed for electric car batteries and energy storage are processed primarily in Asia. China alone controls nearly 80 percent of the world’s processing and refining of those critical minerals.

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