Headline, September 19 2022/ ''' '' ELECTRIC VEHICLES ELASTICS '' '''



ELECTRIC VEHICLES [EVS] APPEAR UNSTOPPABLE. Carmakers are outpledging themselves in terms of production goals. Industry analysts are struggling to keep up. But could a battery crunch halt the electric-car boom?

Battery-powered cars may zoom from 10% of global vehicle sales in 2021 to 40% by 2030, according to BloombergNEF. Depending on whom you ask, that could translate to between 25 million and 40 million EVS a year. 

They and the tens of millions manufactured between now and then, will need plenty of batteries. Bernstein reckons that demand from EVS will grow six-fold 2030, to 2,700 gigawatt-hours [GWh]. Rystad puts it at 4,000 GWh.

Such forecasts explain the frenzied activity up and down the battery value chain. The ferment stretches from the salt flats of Chile's Atacama desert, where lithium is mined, to the plains of Hungary, where on August 12th CATL of China, the world's biggest battery-maker announced a Euro7.3 billion investment to build its second European ''gigafactory.''

It is, however, looking increasingly as though the activity is not quite frenzied enough, especially for the Western car companies that are desperate to reduce their dependence on China's world-leading battery industry amid rising geopolitical tensions.

Prices of battery metals have spiked and are expected to push battery costs up in 2022 for the first time in more than a decade.

In June BloombergNEF cast doubt on its earlier prediction that the cost of buying and running an EV would be as low as for a fossil-fuel car by 2024. More distant targets, such as the EU's coming ban on new sales of carbon-burning cars by 2035, may not be met. Could that EV boom run out of juice before it gets going in earnest.

On paper, there ought to be plenty of batteries to go around. Benchmark minerals, a consultancy, has analysed manufacturers' declared plans and found that, if they materialise, 282 new gigafactories should come online worldwide by 2031.

That would take total global capacity to 5,800Wh. It is also a big ''if''. Bernstein calculates that current and promised future supply from six established battery-makers - BYD and CATL of China; LG, Samsung and SK Innovation of South Korea; and Panasonic of Japan - adds up to 1,360GWh by the end of the decade. The balance would have to come from newcomers, and being a newcomer in a capital-intensive industry is never easy.

The optimistic overall capacity projection conceal other problems. Matteo Fini of S&P Global Mobility, a consultancy, notes that gigafactories take three years to build but require longer - possibly a few extra years - to manufacture at full capacity. As such, actual output by 2030 may fall short.

Moreover, manufacturers' unique technologies and specifications mean that cells from one factory are usually not interchangeable with those from another, which could create further bottlenecks.

Most troubling for Western carmakers is China's dominance of battery-making. The country houses close to 80% of the world's current cell-manufacturing capacity. Benchmark Minerals forecasts that China's share will decline in the next decade or so, but only a bit - to just under 70%.

By then America would be home to just 12% of global capacity - with Europe accounting for most of the rest.

Americans' slower uptake of EVS may ease the crunch for carmakers there. Deloitte, a consultancy, expects America to account for fewer than 5 million vehicles of the 31 million EVS sold in 2030, compared with 15 million in China and 8 million in Europe.

Detroit's auto giants already have joint ventures with the big South Korean battery-makers to build domestic gigafactories. In July Ford and SK innovation finalised a deal to build one in Tennessee and two in Kentucky, with the carmaker chipping in $6.6 billion and SK innovation $5.5 billion.

The same month it struck a deal to import CATL batteries. General Motors and LG Energy are together putting more than $7 billion into three battery factories in Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on The EV Revolution with cell-side analysis, continues. The World Students Society thanks The Economist.

With respectful dedication to the Researchers, Car manufacturers, and the Market Demand, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

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