Peak Battery Update - Tesla Warns Of Shortage and It's Not Alone
Torque News recently did a long-format story explaining that the world has reached a point of "peak battery." This term means that, for now at least, the world's automotive lithium-ion battery supply chain is maxed out. This is the underlying reason why battery electric cars are failing in the U.S. marketplace.
A Single Successful EV In Ten Years
Since the new age of electric vehicles began a decade ago, only a single model, the Tesla Model 3, has been a success. No other EV of any type has been able to maintain a monthly delivery rate of 2,000 units per month. That is a tiny number when one considers that mainstream models typically sell at between ten and twenty times that number. Worse, top sellers like the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf are well off their prior high sales points and declining this past year. Not increasing. New models like those from Honda, Kia, and Hyundai are loved by consumers, but can only be delivered in volumes under 1,000 units per month. This despite these automakers still receiving full federal tax subsidies. Vehicle demand is not the problem for EVs. The manufacturers just can't get the batteries they need anywhere near the price point they require to make affordable EVs workable.
The reason that a batter supply chain shortage has caused the failure of the electric car in America is simple and has two intertwined elements. The battery supply chain shortage means that there will be rationing and the rationing then causes very high prices. Tesla was ahead of the rest of the industry and locked up its supply of batteries first and best. Tesla also charges between $50K and $130K for almost every model it sells. The battery price is not as much of a drag on popularity and sales in luxury-priced vehicles, and thus, the Tesla trio has had more success in their segments than affordable EVs.
The Spin Doctors Begin To Play A Role
In today's automotive press release feed, the topic came up again. The new press release is written by mining interests who wish to downplay Tesla's warning, which was reported by Reuters. However, is Tesla's May warning the only indicator?
It is not. In March, prior to the date that Reuters reported Tesla's warning, Mining.com reported, "Electric car dreams may be dashed by 2050 on lack of cobalt, lithium supplies." The story is very balanced and it offers input from multiple sources with multiple viewpoints.
Here's our take: You know something is based in truth when the spin doctors start to weigh in claiming otherwise. And that is exactly what today's press release was.
John Goreham can be followed on Twitter at @johngoreham.