The ambitious plans of European automakers to switch to electric traction need to be supported not only by the localization of the production of traction batteries, but also by the supply of raw materials for their production in sufficient quantities. According to experts, by 2030 Europe will be able to provide only a quarter of its own need for raw materials for the production of lithium batteries.
The world’s lithium reserves are large enough, the problem is the availability of a sufficient number of mining enterprises. As a rule, it takes at least seven years to develop one field. Transportation of raw materials from outside Europe may not be the best choice for local carmakers, as the supply chain will then increase the carbon footprint, which the companies seek to minimize. The increase in costs due to long delivery also does not need to be written off, as well as possible disruptions in logistics.
Some of the raw materials for the production of traction batteries can be obtained through recycling, but Europe in this regard can claim no more than 10-20% of its own needs, according to the respondents. Reuters experts. Now in Europe, it is planned to build about 50 new enterprises for the production of traction batteries. Only Volkswagen intends to build at least six, Daimler, together with partners, expects to build four enterprises, Renault is trying to keep up with them. However, even with such a pace of construction of factories, Volkswagen by 2030 will provide its own needs for batteries by only two-thirds.
If all sorts of difficulties do not prevent the implementation of these plans, then by 2030 Europe will be able to almost completely meet the regional needs for traction batteries. It will annually produce batteries with a total capacity of 640 GWh, which will be enough for the production of 13 million electric vehicles. Global demand by 2030 will be measured at 2,212 GWh of equivalent capacity, and supply will reach 2,140 GWh, according to Ultima Media analysts. European authorities will be forced to subsidize not only the construction of factories and charging stations, but also geological exploration, as well as the recycling of materials used in batteries.