It has been clear to anyone who has followed space for electric vehicles for some time that the core of growth – whether it is for a company or the industry as a whole – is batteries. Batteries, batteries, batteries. And batteries a little more. A few years ago, when I found out about a potential crack in the battery mineral supply in the second half of this decade, I began to dig deeper to try to understand this topic as well as possible – or at least as well as necessary for to come to major conclusions about growth in EV sales.
One of the big takeaways was that there are not enough fixed commitments for battery minerals to actually match EV sales targets and expected growth a few years from now, and there are certainly not enough fixed commitments for sales targets and expected growth a handful of years from now . Car manufacturers announce that they plan to achieve much higher EV sales in the coming decade, and suggest that they will be able to get all the batteries they want from battery manufacturers. To reiterate: However, there are not enough solid commitments for the battery minerals to reach all their goals.
As much as I trust the battery experts I have talked to about all this, there is also always the question: is this really the story? I have to keep wondering: do old carmakers really still not take this EV transition seriously enough and not secure the battery supplies they should need? Can this really be true?
The interesting thing is that one of the people who might want to know what is needed and what is happening better than anyone else, Tesla co-founder and longtime former CTO JB Straubel, just said pretty much the same thing on a podcast. Talking to Jason Calacanis for his This week in startup show, Straubel said:
“So many different OEMs, countries, factories, customers are jumping into electric cars. You know they come up with these huge messages you know and say they will be fully electric this decade or next. They have not – I do not think they have fully counted [on] what it entails in the supply chain and trace it all the way back, literally all the way back to mines. You have to do it, otherwise you have not really solved it. It feels to me like a giant overbooked flight.
“All these people like, ‘Oh, that’s great. We’re all going to the new place. We all want to go there. It looks good. Sweet. Let’s all get on the plane and go. ‘So everyone says we all want to go there at the same time. In the meantime, we have to build the planes to get there; we have to figure out how to sequence them all. The figurative runway is like the time to do all this, and it can all be fixed over time. But of course we try to do it quickly as a community and as a species. ”
So yes, it seems that car manufacturers are not actually taking the battery supply issue seriously enough, not ensuring enough dedicated battery supply yet and not running at full speed.
Watch Straubel’s full interview with Jason Calacanis’ This week in startup in the YouTube video to hear more.
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