Electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers are currently facing a key challenge: the availability of rare minerals like lithium, cobalt etc. which are required for the creation of battery packs.
Mining lithium, in particular, has proven to be extraordinarily challenging, resulting in a high environmental toll and significant humanitarian cost in some regions of the world.
And it’s for this reason, among others, that we’re in the midst of a lithium crisis right now, with worldwide lithium prices spiking more than 450 percent in the last 12 months.
According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, this predicament may force Tesla to enter a new industry: mining. “Price of lithium has gone to insane levels! Tesla might actually have to get into the mining and refining directly at scale, unless costs improve,” he recently tweeted.
Furthermore, other companies are increasingly searching for methods to reduce our dependency on the difficult-to-extract element. There’s zinc, for example, which some academics feel may be a viable option. Others believe that salt or sodium-ion batteries might be as promising.
Electric vehicle manufacturers are going through a difficult time. A prolonged worldwide microprocessor scarcity, as well as political instability caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are exacerbating inflationary pressures.
However, a feasible alternative that can be mass-produced while simultaneously matching the high energy density of lithium-ion batteries has yet to be discovered.
Reference- Global Newswire, Elon Musk Twitter Handle, Futurism, Inside EVs, Tesla website, CNBC