As if that were not enough with the semiconductor crisis (which still persists), car manufacturers may find themselves, in the medium term, with an even greater crisis caused by the shortage of batteries for their electric models.
Who predicts it is RJ Scaringe, the CEO of Rivian . In a recent interview granted to the Wall Street Journal , the North American businessman stated emphatically that “the semiconductor thing is a small appetizer of what we are going to suffer with batteries in the next two decades”.
A race to secure supply
With these words, what Scaringe comes to explain is that the progressive increase in demand by the automotive industry, together with the sharp increase in the prices of the raw materials that make up the batteries (especially lithium ) are creating a scenario in which it seems there won’t be enough batteries to go around.
Given this, the automotive industry maneuvers to ensure priority in supply , even ahead of other sectors such as consumer electronics.
But, independently, each manufacturer fights to have an adequate supply of them. Something that has become a priority, in light of the movements that brands have made in recent years.
Some of them, such as Ford or General Motors, have already signed agreements with leading suppliers such as LG or SK. However, large groups such as Stellantis have directly opted to become producers themselves , building specific gigafactories for this task.
The great advantage of this strategy (which is also one of Rivian’s goals) lies in the freedom it offers the manufacturer to adapt battery production to the pace of car assembly.
Price of lithium has gone to insane levels! Tesla might actually have to get into the mining & refining directly at scale, unless costs improve.
There is no shortage of the element itself, as lithium is almost everywhere on Earth, but pace of extraction/refinement is slow.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 8, 2022
Precisely the first to adopt this path was Tesla , which maintains an alliance with Panasonic which includes not only the production, but also the joint development of new cells such as, for example, the recently presented 4680 that the Model Y has released. But Elon Musk is already thinking about the next step.
And it is that, as he recently wrote on his social networks, the next thing to ensure that the ups and downs in the production of batteries do not stop the production of electric cars may also be to control the same mining of its raw materials. For now, with the acquisition of 4,000 hectares of lithium clay in Nevada, work has already begun.
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