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Lithium battery production set to grow 50 percent a year

One of the biggest upcoming challenges for electric cars is having an adequate supply of lithium batteries.

A new report by Benchmark Minerals, first cited by CleanTechnica, shows battery makers are working quickly to meet growing demand for new lithium-ion battery cells from automakers.

According to the company’s Battery Factory Data, battery suppliers ramped up their forecast supply from 922 gigawatt-hours in 2023 to 965 in February, an increase of 4 percent in February alone. Extrapolated to an annualized forecast, that would increase battery supplies available in that year by 50 percent this year alone.

It’s unclear, of course, whether growth in supply forecasts will continue soaring on that trajectory for the rest of the year, but constraints in battery supplies have already emerged as a likely obstacle to planned electric-car production by the middle of the next decade.

The Volkswagen Group alone has ramped up its investment in developing future electric cars to $50 billion by 2023. Other automakers including BMW, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler.

So far, most electric car batteries have come from just a handful of suppliers, including Korean LG Chem, Nissan’s SAIC, CATL, Panasonic (for Teslas), Samsung, and SK Innovation.

That has left some automakers planning big investments in electric cars at the mercy of battery suppliers and led to delays in some products and likely to lower production of some models than the automakers could sell.

The Benchmark Minerals report shows production capacity for lithium-ion battery growing to almost 1.6 terawatt-hours by 2028.

Lithium-vanadium-phosphate batteries enable lighter-weight electric vehicles, higher speeds and acceleration, faster charging times, and a higher life expectancy than current lithium-ion batteries


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September 4, 2019

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