By Paul Homewood
Car makers will face production delays on millions of electric vehicles as mining for lithium fails to keep pace with soaring demand, according to Rystad Energy.
Mining capacity can cope with current demand in electric vehicles, but car makers will face “a serious lithium supply deficit” from 2027, the energy research firm predicted.
The supply crunch is expected to hit just before the UK’s ban on new petrol and diesel sales begins in 2030.
It warned the shortage could triple the price of lithium by the end of the decade unless new investment in mines is made soon.
James Ley of Rystad Energy warned that major disruption was brewing for electric car manufacturers.
“If more mining projects are not added to the pipeline quickly, the energy transition of road transport may need to slow down,” he said.
The shortage will mean the production of 3.3m electric vehicles will be delayed in 2027, growing to 20m in 2030, according to Rystad.
Lithium is one of the key components of the rechargeable batteries used in such cars. Rystad estimated that it can take up to seven years to get a new lithium mining project up and running.
Demand for lithium carbonate equivalent is estimated at 300,000 tonnes this year but is expected to rise to 2.8m tonnes by 2028.
“More investment decisions to build new lithium mining projects need to be added to the pipeline, and fast,” the report said.
“Although lithium-ion is not the only battery technology, it is far superior in electric vehicle applications and won’t be substituted by anything else this decade.”
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April 19, 2021 at 03:45AM