Industry heavyweights unite in U.S. battery push
Auto giants are joining with battery companies, EV startups and lithium producers in a new coalition seeking stronger federal support for building a large U.S. battery supply chain.
Driving the news: The Coalition for American Battery Independence (CABI) launches Tuesday.
- Members include General Motors, Ford, Panasonic, Tesla, Form Energy, Albemarle, Proterra and the Zero Emission Transportation Association.
- The group, run via the lobbying firm Boundary Stone Partners, targets batteries for electric vehicles and storage.
- The goal: cohesive support for everything from raw materials processing and refining to component manufacturing to making battery packs.
Why it matters: Battery demand is slated to surge in coming years and decades.
- There's intense global competition to build supply chains (and expand and diversify mining, a challenge that's not a current CABI focus).
- It's "critically imperative for our energy and climate security to re-shore these battery materials and manufacturing capacity," CABI said.
The big picture: The Biden administration is trying to boost the supply chain with steps like Energy Department grants and loan guarantees.
- But Mike Carr of Boundary Stone — which represents several CABI members — said more holistic policies are needed.
- The group will initially work behind the scenes with policymakers, he said.
- It wants Congress to pass tax incentives for manufacturing and processing.
- Executive support could include use of the Defense Production Act and other purchasing authorities, Carr said.
Catch up fast: While multiple U.S. battery projects are planned, the U.S. now has a fairly small piece of the industry.
- China produces three-fourths of lithium-ion batteries; has by far the largest cathode and anode production; and over half of lithium, cobalt and graphite processing and refining capacity, per the International Energy Agency.