Electric vehicles sales are surging and along with it the demand for lithium
In numeric terms, electric vehicle sales in China, the US, Europe, Japan and Canada collectively rose to 1.1 million vehicles, up from 740,000 in 2016. Poignantly, the market share of electric vehicle sales in China was 2.3% up from 1.4%.
Commentators are predicting that vehicle charge points will outnumber petrol stations by 2020 and by 2022 electric vehicles will become cheaper than conventional vehicles.
Governments and car manufacturers are responding.
China, India, France, Britain and Norway have announced plans to ditch gas and diesel vehicles altogether in favour of electric vehicles. At least eight other countries (Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Korea and Spain) have set official targets for electric sales. And Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has hinted that it is only a matter of time before the country that invented the modern car sets an expiration date of its own.
Car manufacturers are following suit. Volvo will only manufacture hybrids or full electric vehicles from 2019. General Motors has signalled plans to make only electric vehicles at some point in the future. The likes of Ford, Toyota, Mazda, Daimler, Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Jaguar Land Rover and VW are all investing heavily in electric vehicles with new models in production or in planning.
Europe dependent on imports of this critical resource
Gigafactory 1 (Nevada, USA):
Largest lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in the world
Planned production target of 500,000 electric vehicles (EVs) per year by 2020
Requires the entire current worldwide production of lithium ion batteries for this target
Plans afoot for 3 further Gigafactories, most likely in Europe and Asia
Price of Lithium
A limited supply of Lithium, with increasing demand, has increased its price per metric ton. Lithium has traded at US$16,000 per metric ton in 2018.
Price (US$) of Lithium per metric ton (2002-2018)