Aluminum, lithium and nickel have increased in price noticeably since the beginning of the year. Estimated Barrons, a typical set of metals for the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries of the year increased in price by 64%. This adds $2,000 to the cost of the average electric car’s traction battery. Manufacturers under the current conditions will be forced to actively search for more profitable formulas for battery chemistry.
According to its management, the young company SES is proposing to switch the anode material of lithium batteries from graphite to lithium. Conventional cathodes of lithium-ion batteries contain nickel, among other things. The transition to using iron oxide for these purposes typically reduces the charge storage density by about a third and also makes the battery more sensitive to sub-zero temperatures. SES proposes combining an iron oxide cathode with a pure lithium anode. This allows charge storage densities to be achieved that are characteristic of batteries with nickel-containing cathodes.
At current metal price levels, industry representatives will accelerate the development of traction batteries with alternative chemistries, according to SES. Recall that at least five major electric vehicle manufacturers have been forced to raise the prices of their products over the past month as the cost of manufacturing batteries has soared. The $1,000 price increase for an electric car still looked modest — Tesla and Rivian increased the cost of cars by $10,000 or more in some cases.