Daily Management Review

Accelerating The Use Of Electric Vehicles Requires Lithium


The second-largest producer of lithium in the world, Chile, announced plans to hand over management of EV battery mineral production to a new state-owned firm.
Here are some pertinent details about lithium and EVs:
Lithium: What Is It?
The silvery-white element has the strongest energy storage potential per unit of weight since it is the lightest metal and is highly reactive.
Due to its high energy density, which enables EV batteries to travel great distances between charges, alkali metal has become the material of choice for EV batteries in general.
Where Can You Find Lithium?
Although Chile possesses the vast majority of known reserves, Australia is the world's greatest producer of lithium. Argentina, China, and the United States are more nations having sizable deposits.
Does Lithium Cost a Lot?
Although lithium is widely available, it requires significant capital to extract it from ore or brine. In recent years, the price has gone through boom-bust cycles as a result of producers increasing production to take advantage of rising prices, but this also led to a glut.
Prices have fallen recently due to China's high production and little demand for EVs. In December, battery grade lithium prices reached record highs of $85,000 per tonne, but since then, they have fallen by about 50%. Even at around double what it was in October 2021, the price is still quite steep.
Can Lithium-free batteries be made?
The sodium-ion battery, which China's CATL (300750.SZ) hopes to start manufacturing this year, is the most sophisticated of a variety of batteries that need little or no lithium.
Sodium-ion batteries are made from far less expensive components, but they degrade more quickly than lithium-ion batteries and have a smaller energy storage capacity, requiring more frequent charging.
Magnesium is used as an alternative to lithium in another battery, however those are still in the research stage.
Analysts predict that lithium will continue to be a crucial component of EV batteries in the short to medium term, despite the possibility that alternatives may gain traction in the long run due to their effectiveness and well-established technology.
Which EV Battery Types Are Available?
Manufacturers of EV batteries have created a variety of lithium battery products. Lithium ions travel between the negative anode and the positive cathode electrodes to charge and drain a battery.
Cobalt, nickel phosphate, and manganese are further important elements included in EV batteries.
How much growth in demand for lithium is anticipated?
Lithium consumption has been increasing as EVs play a significant role in the strategy to reach zero carbon objectives and combat climate change.
According to the International Energy Agency, the world needs 2 billion EVs on the road by 2050 in order to reach net zero goals. A lithium-ion EV battery pack typically comprises roughly 8 kg of lithium.
Analysts at Bank of America predict that the demand for lithium will surge to 3 million tonnes annually by 2030 from just 300,000 tonnes in 2020.