(London) — A gang of Perth mining juniors is clambering aboard Europe’s lithium bandwagon, shrugging off the global price doldrums and betting that European governments and car makers will deliver an electric vehicle and battery bonanza.
The fundamentals for a European lithium boom seem in place. Coronavirus has put barely a dent in the European car makers’ sales of, and ambitions for, electric vehicles – and soon they will need more battery-ready lithium than the world can supply.
“Europe is the place where lithium demand is going to grow the fastest of anywhere in the world, and it has no domestic supply whatsoever,” says EMH executive chairman Keith Coughlan. “The supply-demand equation is as simple as that.”
(Bloomberg) — European governments approved the most ambitious climate change plan to date, agreeing to pour more than 500 billion euros ($572 billion) into everything from electric cars to renewable energy and agriculture.
The plan is part of Europe’s bid to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
Significantly, for a country where car manufacturing represents a significant part of the economy, no funds were directed toward fossil fuel cars.Subsidies to buy electric vehicles in Germany are so generous that some Renault models can be acquired for free.
Global rechargeable battery market to grow 7% during 2019-2024
Market for cathode expected to reach $58.8 billion by 2024
Supplies of lithium and other minerals used in rechargeable batteries are highly concentrated in just a few countries, leaving the raw materials vulnerable to disruption as a boom in electric cars bolsters demand, according to the United Nations.
“The rise in demand for the strategic raw materials used to manufacture electric batteries will open more trade opportunities for the countries that supply these materials,” Pamela Coke-Hamilton, UNCTAD’s director of international trade, said in a statement. “It’s important for these countries to develop their capacity to move up the value chain.”
The rechargeable battery market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 7% during 2019-2024. The market in cathode for lithium-ion batteries, the most common rechargeable car battery, is expected to jump to $58.8 billion by 2024 from $7 billion in 2018, according to the report.
The plans were announced on Tuesday (4th February 2020) and are subject to consultation.
Ending sale of petrol, diesel or hybrid cars or vans leaves consumers to choose between electric and hydrogen vehicles.
The U.K. government wants to end the sale of new diesel and petrol (gasoline) cars by the year 2035.
Grant Shapps, the U.K.’s transport secretary, said that the government’s £1.5 billion ($1.95 billion) strategy to “make owning an electric vehicle as easy as possible” was working, claiming that in 2019 a “fully electric car was sold every 15 minutes.”
Bolivia’s government has cancelled a joint venture project with Germany’s privately owned ACI Systems Alemania (ACISA), which was seeking to develop a massive lithium project in the country’s southern highlands.
Potosí authorities said the decision followed a decree emitted by President Evo Morales over the weekend in which he overturned a previous order permitting the $250 million lithium operation.
Renewables made up a larger percentage of electricity generation than fossil fuels did in the UK for the first time in Q3 this year.
According to new analysis byCarbon Brief, in the three month period running July to September this year the UK’s windfarms, solar panels, biomass facilities and hydro plants generated 29.5TWh of power, while coal, gas and oil generated just 29.1TWh. This is the first time renewables have been responsible for more generation than fossil fuels since the first public electricity generation station opened in 1882.
EIT Raw Materials held the Expert Forum on Sustainable Materials for Future Mobility, Electrification and Lightweight Design in Turin, Italy in early October. At the event, Roskill presented its outlook for raw materials impacted by growing demand from EV applications. The forum discussed European strategy in highlighting and securing raw material supply chains, including announcements from the EU Commission regarding sustainability and life-cycle analysis for battery raw materials and funding totalling €10Bn (US$10.9Bn) for research during the Horizon 2021–2027 period.
Speaking at an industry conference in May, Tesla’s supply chain manager Sarah Maryssael called on the U.S. government to help ensure the ongoing availability of minerals needed to produce lithium-ion batteries, including lithium, nickel, and copper.
In the U.K., Professor Richard Herrington raised the concern about mineral shortages restricting the rapid growth of the electric vehicle market in a letter to the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, in which he wrote, “Over the next few decades, global supply of raw materials must drastically change to accommodate [the world’s] transformation to a low carbon economy.”
They have dubbed it the “Airbus of batteries”. Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, joined with his German counterpart in Paris last week to unveil plans for a battery plant to supply electric cars, part of a pan-European project backed by public money.