The shortage of components also reaches the batteries of electric cars: there will be a lack of materials to make them
The machinery to make the combustion vehicle a thing of the past has been launched in Europe. Now the priority is to produce electric cars, and for this purpose the main manufacturers already have plans to open up to 50 factories on the continent dedicated to the production of batteries for these cars (Volkswagen will have one in Spain). But there is a problem: the demand for the materials needed for these batteries is too great.
Many factories, but little material
Reuters comments on the dilemma by collecting data from recent estimates from Ultima Media. Lack of lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt (among others), and brands such as Volkswagen or Daimler are already competing strongly to get the stock that remains available through exclusive contracts in some cases.
Too much has been invested in the factories that produce batteries and too little in the extraction of the raw materials that are needed: if we take cobalt as an example we find extractions in very harsh human conditions and a seven-year time to open new mines. And with what is happening in the ports, the import of all these materials is complicated.
European companies, they say from Ultima Media, believed that the problem would be solved by importing batteries from other markets but they have realized that the shortage is global. Effects could include slower manufacturing of electric cars, as well as making electric cars more expensive.
Given this, you can already see some alternatives such as recycling of used materials, but from the source they also comment that it would only cover 10 to 20 percent of the demand with China going far ahead in that regard.
Too hopes are pinned on new types of batteries: there are sodium with very interesting charging times, alkali metal-chlorine or silicon anodes among other solid state solutions. But it is clear that, even with all the will to manufacture electric cars, being able to have materials to manufacture their batteries is going to be a challenge.
Image | Markus Spiske