A battery supply chain that excludes China looks impossible (The Economist – July 17, 2023)


Green industrial policy and hawkish security policies are clashing

“I’d like to get all the gas emissions off the highways of the world,” said John Goodenough, one of the Nobel prize-winning scientists who developed the lithium-ion battery four decades ago, during an interview in 2018.

Goodenough died on June 25th before his dream could become reality. But governments around the world are scrambling to make it so, with remarkable results. Global sales of electric cars quintupled between 2019 and 2022, surpassing 10m units last year.

Yet the speed of the transformation is running into supply constraints and geopolitical headwinds. The supply of the minerals required to make lithium-ion batteries must grow by a third every year this decade to meet the estimated global demand.

Tens of millions of batteries will be needed in America alone to meet its ambition to ensure half of all American vehicle sales involve electric vehicles by 2030. And yet its great rival, China, is by far the biggest processor of battery metals, producer of battery cells and manufacturer of finished batteries.

For the rest of this article: https://www.economist.com/asia/2023/07/17/a-battery-supply-chain-that-excludes-china-looks-impossible