One concern for a lot of EV stakeholders is what they understand as an “over-concentration” of provide chain assets in only a handful of nations — most notably China. China dominates the trade of battery minerals processing and cathode and anode manufacturing, mentioned Abigail Wulf, vp of vital minerals technique at Securing America’s Future Energy.
“We don’t just want to be the assemblers of the future,” she mentioned, referring to the U.S. trade. “We want to be making the battery guts — the cathodes and the anodes — and processing the minerals’ precursor material.”
It’s not only a race for the uncooked materials assets, she added, but additionally “for all of the downstream industries and innovation that rely upon them.”
But with China’s new place as the most important auto market worldwide, and its lead within the deployment of EVs and in battery manufacturing, there’ll nonetheless be some reliance on the nation, a number of trade consultants mentioned.
“With China, there will be a level of collaboration on supply chains,” Jon Huntsman Jr., Ford’s vice chair of coverage, mentioned final month in the course of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Forum. “They’re just too big and too complicated, too well established, to think otherwise.”
Wulf mentioned assist by grants and loans on the federal degree will likely be essential for U.S. success in fostering new provide chain trade. She cited provisions within the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that earmarked greater than $7 billion for the battery provide chain, together with producing and recycling battery-critical minerals.
But that funding will not be sufficient to get U.S. trade to scale, she famous.
“To build one processing facility, it costs anywhere from hundreds of millions of dollars to $3 billion — and we’re going to need about five of those,” Wulf mentioned.
Wulf’s group is pushing for insurance policies that concentrate on utilizing solely supplies which are sourced utilizing the best environmental and labor requirements and calling for motion plans with allies equivalent to Canada.
The group is also advocating for public-private partnerships between automakers and the federal government, in addition to a consortium cost-sharing initiative to construct processing amenities within the U.S., and different efforts to make supplies processing cheaper, sooner and cleaner.
“This isn’t just about EVs,” Wulf mentioned. “This is about every thing — the higher power transition from a fossil fuel-based financial system to a minerals-based financial system.
“And so eventually, yes, we’re going to have to stick some shovels in the ground here.”