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Sen. Angus King

It will be five years before battery recycling will yield sufficient minerals to support a domestic supply chain for electric vehicles, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said Tuesday at an Axios event.

Why it matters: Electric vehicle automakers have begun to increase battery manufacturing in response to President Biden's pledge to increase the amount of electric vehicles produced in the United States. But currently China controls most of the world's battery minerals mining and processing, putting the U.S. at a disadvantage.

  • King and Redwood Materials CEO JB Straubel explained that the creation of battery recycling programs would not only allow the U.S. to increase the number of batteries and electric vehicles made here, it would also allow auto-manufacturers to rely less on foreign imports in order to make batteries.

What he's saying: When asked about whether or not recycling can play a role in helping our battery supply, King said that "it's probably five years away. But we're trying to invent an industry from scratch here."

  • "[We're] trying to jumpstart an entire industry. Here it is. It is feasible, but it's not easy and it's something that's going to take some time. And frankly, it's going to take some federal support just as other areas of energy development have," King said.

Watch the full event here.

Editor's note: This story and headline have been corrected to show that Sen. King told Axios that it will be five years before battery recycling will yield sufficient minerals to support a domestic supply chain for electric vehicles.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 1, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on America's manufacturing future

On Wednesday, December 1st, Axios markets reporter Courtenay Brown and business reporter Hope King explored how new technologies and sustainability commitments are setting a new standard for domestic industrial manufacturing, featuring Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Siemens USA president and CEO Barbara Humpton.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow explained how government leaders and the manufacturing sector are responding to the current supply chain crisis and reinforced the important role domestic manufacturing plays in fostering economic growth and national security.

  • On the supply chain crisis and chip manufacturing: “We’re seeing a little bit of improvement happening, but we’ve got a long ways to go because when you shut down this type of operation and then work on getting it up and going again, it’s not like turning on a switch...there’s a lot of safety testing and standards that have to be met to make these.”
  • On the importance of domestic manufacturing: “Manufacturing, as it moves and changes in more advanced manufacturing and technology, is a very important part of our economy to be successful and to provide good paying jobs, it’s also part of our national defense and is part of what is important for us in terms of leading the world.”

Barbara Humpton described the issues plaguing supply chains, how companies are adapting to improve production timelines, and how manufacturers are thinking about the transition to renewable energy.

  • On the urgency of the supply chain crisis for global economies: “The supply chain obviously is a critical issue for all of us. From the first disruptions we saw due to COVID to all of the really crazy things that happened in 2021, the supply chain has really risen as the issue right now for our economies all around the world.”
  • On the transition to renewable energy: “I know there are plenty of advocates who would love to see us make an immediate switch to all renewable energy, but let’s face it, we’re going to be in a decade when we need to be transitioning from fossil fuels to other alternatives. While we’re working our way through that transition, we can find lots of greener, more effective, more efficient sources of fuel, more efficient ways to use clean natural gas, for instance, in order to support our industries.”

Axios SVP of Product & Technology Melanie Colton hosted a View from the Top segment with SAFE Commanding Heights executive director Dr. Jeffrey Jeb Nadaner, who discussed how the U.S. can reestablish itself as a leader in manufacturing.

  • “One of the issues we have today is how do we restore that manufacturing base? The good news is that we have the technology, we have the people. It’s a question of having the right policies and the right incentives by the U.S. government to make a favorable business climate for industry to want to build those fabrication plants in the U.S. once again.”

Thank you SAFE for sponsoring this event.

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
59 mins ago - Economy & Business

Philanthropy in the age of crypto

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The best charities are increasingly effective. That's the clear message sent by Open Philanthropy, the think tank that doubles as the grant-making vehicle for Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna.

Why it matters: With tech and crypto wealth becoming a fast-growing part of the philanthropic pie, there's more of an emphasis than ever on effectiveness — what the newly-divorced Melinda French Gates, in her recent Giving Pledge update, characterizes as giving as "impactfully as possible."