Axios Pro: Climate Deals

November 01, 2022

Axios Pro Exclusive Content

🦃 Happy Tuesday, and welcome to November. Grab some coffee to offset your candy hangover, and let's dive in.

1 big thing: "Lithium, nickel...cobalt do not just magically appear"

Data: S&P Global Mobility; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stop us if you've heard this before: Geopolitical turmoil, supply chain disruptions, inflation and breakneck demand for batteries are threatening to undercut the transition to electric-everything, Alan writes.

Why it matters: A new report from S&P Global Mobility puts hard numbers on how the upheaval is affecting investment — specifically soaring prices that aren't expected to subside any time soon.

Of note: "The battery will be the defining technological and supply chain battleground for the industry in the next decade," the report says.

By the numbers: Automakers alone will need 3.4 terawatt-hours — or 3.4 million MWh — of capacity in lithium-ion batteries by 2030, according to S&P, a figure much higher than the current output.

  • The report notes that lithium prices reached $81,000 per tonne this year — an 8x increase in just two years.

Be smart: The report focuses on electric vehicles. But the findings also have implications for grid storage, at-home energy storage and consumer wearables.

  • Each of these segments is competing for the same raw materials for its battery systems, big or small.

What they're saying: "Elements such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt do not just magically appear and transform into EV batteries and other components," S&P says.

  • "The intermediate steps between excavation and final assembly are a particular choke point in terms of expertise and market presence."

👀 What we're watching: companies and countries looking to capitalize on the battery materials demand.

  • On that list: Indonesia (nickel, cobalt) and China.
  • "China is the clear leader in materials refining, as well as the packaging and assembly of battery cells. At issue is which other nations will step up to facilitate this industry transformation," the report says.

View archive