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Electric Car Batteries
Before we get into the subject we have to discuss two things. What are Electric Car Batteries made from & why are they in such high demand? The batteries are made from four main components, and whilst each battery and manufacture uses slightly different proportions and ratios, the general mix is as follows. A single car lithium-ion battery pack could contain around 8 kg of lithium, 35 kg of nickel, 20 kg of manganese and 14 kg of cobalt. That’s a significant amount of natural resources.
Moving onto why electric car batteries are in such high demand. It’s probably no surprise to you if visit the Petrolmania frequently, with articles such as Aston Martin To Join The EV Movement By 2025, Spain To Kick Start EV Production by investing 4.3 Billion Euros & Porsche Demands Suppliers To Go Green. The point is there’s a lot of demand for Electric Cars, both by enthusiasts and climate experts alike. With many manufacturers claiming to completely STOP producing combustion & fossil fuel engines by 2033. Estimates assume that over half the passenger vehicles will be electrically powered by 2035.
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Lithium is an important part of electric car batteries. We estimate that we have around 21 million tonnes. Lithium batteries are no 97% cheaper than when they were introduced. We can expect up to 20% further decrease in the next decades (20% off of the 3% that remains!). So are we going to run out? Maybe. The problem with the Electric Vehicle industry is that it’s still growing. Officials believe that the demand for lithium will increase 7 fold over these next crucial decade. This means there could be huge price swings, temporary shortages and other issues with sourcing Lithium. Especially trying to source it ethically, as extracting lithium is damaging to the soil and contaminates the air, the main reason we built we E.V.s was to prevent these things.
Despite 21 million tones being a finite amount, it can and likely will deplete eventually, do not worry though. As demand increases so will the reserves. 21 million tonnes is not all the lithium in the world, its the amount we can extract in an economic fashion at this moment. We currently believe there to be 86 million tonnes of lithium on earth. Back in 2001 we believe there was only to be 12 million tonnes.
It begs the question if the extraction will be done ethically. When it comes to mining there is no shortage of malpractices and as economically viable methods begin to dwindle larger corporations tend to lean to more secretive malpractice to save money. Ethics aside it’s going to be tough for companies to costs low and this will definitely be reflected in the cost pushed onto consumers.
With that in mind, we nearly doubled the amount of known easy to extract lithium between 2001 and now, so in the next 20 years we might discover that there’s even more than we previously anticipated. Even if the amount of known “easy” lithium does not increase there are other alternatives. Instead of finding more easy materials we could see a great increase in our mining technology. If extraction becomes cheaper and easier than the 86 tonnes projected in the earth could become more economical to excavate down the line. So there’s no need to panic just yet. We have plenty of Lithium for now. There’s a large reserve and even though it’t not easy to access now, we know there’s more. We might find more.Perhaps we might get better at extracting it. We may even replace the materials and methods of which we create and store power. EV batteries may be made from different materials all together.