EV Myths And Realities, Part 1: The Battery Crisis
Finally, is it time to start the long term position you have been considering?
Over the past few days, weeks, months, years and decades, there has been a lot of debate about the feasibility of electric vehicles.
The Model S is a fast, luxurious and stunning car with a mileage of 300 miles and a charging time of only 45 minutes.
The case is closed, right?
They are going to compromise on something, but time is running out. . . Hardly.
At least in some corners, the debate is as fierce as ever.
I recently decided to measure it with my two cents because I believe electric cars are part of a future mobile solution --a big part -
Without any technological leap, economic solutions are easy to achieve.
If you\'re thinking of taking a place in Tesla or any other pure electric vehicle game, it\'s important to master the underlying issues.
If you know the background, you will make a better decision and hope for a better investment.
Here are three such critical topics: in this article, I will discuss the first point above: given the known resource base, the battery production capacity of our planet, battery production will have an impact on the demand for raw materials.
There is a lot of existing peer review work on this topic --
I will refer to some of them.
Let\'s start with myth.
John Peterson recently made it very clear that this is very clear.
The general basis of this argument is that the supply of key materials for electric vehicles is limited and cannot meet the needs of hundreds of thousands or more.
If so, we should keep these materials and use them in the most efficient way possible
This may not mean putting them on an electric car.
But this is not the case.
Resources are not scarce.
\"Peak Battery\" will not be hot after peak oil.
To understand why you need to know that there are many different types of lithium ion batteries that use different materials in the manufacturing process.
Cobalt has traditionally been used as a major component (LiCoO2 cathode );
But today not only have batteries developed to use less cobalt while providing better performance. . .
There are many batteries that do not use cobalt at all.
I only look at a few of the most common ones right now --
Many other studies are in advanced stages and many are already in production.
I will show all the numbers at each stage so you can rest assured that I am not trying to pull a quick number;
If you think I made a mistake, please feel free to check my numbers and let me know in the comments.
Here is a battery chemistry sheet detailing the composition of the elements of each battery anode and cathode (negative/positive.
This is very dry, but it is a key input to the following.
There is no need to understand it with heart.
Click zoom in.
To get the cathode capacity of 1 mAh in the LiMnO4 cathode, you need 6 micrograms of manganese.
If you would like to check these calculations yourself, please use the excellent tools of web qc.
There is a good summary of the specific capacity of each gram of material on the Wikipedia page, in TU Delft\'s recent wonderful presentation.
So far, it\'s boring.
Let\'s combine the mAh value with the voltage and get a table that tells us how many kilograms of a given material is needed for the 1kWh battery.
Below I give the theoretical value and the \"real world\" value that reflects the real numbers of today.
Want to know how many kilograms of cobalt are contained in a 40 kWh LiNiCoAlO2/c2 battery pack?
Just multiply by 0278 by 40.
For all further calculations, I will use the \"real world\" value to ensure security.
Now that we know how much each material is needed to make a given battery, we can make how many batteries with existing materials.
As strategic thinkers, we will first look at reserves and then fall to production at the tactical level.
A few things to pay attention to by ReservesA: the result came out!
As you can see, the fear of alarmist is not unfounded.
If we stick to lithiumCobalt-
We will have real problems!
A total of 12 million cars is far from enough.
Fortunately, this has not happened;
LiCoO2 is not even a good battery for electric vehicle applications.
The next limit is LiNiCoAlO2 (which Tesla uses in Model S), but even this limit won\'t start to take effect until we make 0. 11 billion cars. . .
Let\'s say we only allocate 20% of our resources.
Still, 0. 11 billion is not much if we consider vehicles. for-the-next-hundred-years. Are we stuck? No.
We don\'t need cobalt.
In some cases it is used today because it works well and is rich compared to current requirements.
However, there are many alternatives in development and production, and some are expected to perform better.
The two options I showed didn\'t have any problems before we had lithium around 1.
LG Chem, BYD and Samsung have all invested heavily in LiFePO, just to name the three giants who are doing a great job (LG supplies GM, BYD makes its own car, and Samsung works with Bosch.
When you look at the details, the only thing that is worth losing sleep is lithium.
I\'m a little worried here because it\'s a material that hasn\'t been used in large quantities yet.
The United States Geological Survey estimated lithium reserves of 10 million tons.
It\'s a bit close for comfort!
That was in his 70 s-
A recent study by Evans showed that production was 30 million tons.
This is a bit better, but still tight (as you can see above --1. 5 billion cars ).
But now, the estimated reserves of SQM may exceed 60 million tons!
This report outlines this evolution for a clear reason.
The reserves of the US Geological Survey have reached 10 million tons, and the current annual demand is only about 0 tons.
34 million tons, according to the current mining speed, we have enough known reserves in 300.
This is not to say that there is a shortage, but that there is so much --
Until the last few years
No one bothered to find more.
In fact, the concentration of lithium in the crust is similar to that of lead and nickel.
This problem is just one of the problems of economic Mining and Technology. The current price of lithium includes only about $ 2% per kWh of lithium batteries, which is not something we need to worry about soon.
I only look at mineral reserves, though.
To get them into electric cars, we need the ability to extract them and make them into batteries.
Fortunately, major manufacturers are under investigation.
Despite my hope, the production of electric vehicles will not increase overnight to 30 million vehicles per year.
Let\'s take a quick look at how many electric cars we can produce today.
Even with today\'s production levels and only a fraction of the car\'s resources, there are still a large number of Tesla S-Class electric vehicles each year.
However, the production of electric vehicles will take several years to reach these levels, which gives the supply chain time to adapt.
At the moment, supply chain adaptation is so fast that Roland Berger (among many other companies) predicts a substantial excess capacity by 2015.
IDC Energy Insights says production capacity will reach 26GWh this year.
What may be the impact of this 26GWh
Remember, it should go far beyond demand.
Is there a demand for raw materials?
Let\'s have a look. Well, now.
This is not exciting at all.
After 3 years, the industry needs to increase lithium production slightly.
It\'s not surprising, and it\'s already in progress.
Ignore the LiCoO2 that we have determined that no one is seriously considering (obviously, there is a good reason for this! ) -
The only small sign is that if all the batteries are NCA, we may use 8% cobalt.
Even if they were-
8% is almost out of reach.
Cobalt production increased by 27% per cent in 2010 alone (Tables 3 and 4 ).
The battery today is already using 25% cobalt!
The growth of electric vehicles has monopolized part of the resource cake. But 26GWh? Too abstract -
I want a car number.
Let\'s not hesitate to say that we want 30% of the world\'s total light vehicle production --
Call 10 million cars a year.
2020 became the Tesla Model S.
Big version, all the fancy features, huge battery. What then?
Finally, some numbers that seem at least a bit challenging.
We have to increase lithium production significantly.
No debate there.
But only 22% growth this year. on-
The next eight years. Trivial? No. Doable? Yes.
We have seen that the resource base is not a constraint on the scale of production-
Already in progress.
We would be in a more difficult position if everyone insisted on using cobalt, but today there are already very good alternatives, not to mention ten years later.
Nickel also needs some attention, but, like cobalt, we don\'t even need it at all.
Manganese chemical will drive a small increase in annual demand
Growth of 1% will make it irrelevant.
Nothing else is even evaluated.
There are two other things to deal with, and I\'m just dealing with them because otherwise they will be used as shelters by opponents.
The two things are copper and nd, which is very simple, so I will make it soon.
Copper: Electric vehicles may need 100 kg of copper, according to absolute high-end estimates.
Actually, it would be more like 50 kg-
About 30 kg Tesla sports cars were used.
The average usage of traditional cars has reached about 20 kg.
Let\'s use 100 kg to avoid arguments.
Global copper production last year was 20 million tons.
10 million electric vehicles will consume 5% of them each year. Worst case. A non-issue. Neodymium -
Rare earth is not particularly rare in fact.
Used in magnets for permanent magnet motors.
How much do we need to produce 10 million Teslas? None!
Tesla switched to high-speed induction motors.
They don\'t use nd magnets, and the performance itself illustrates that.
All in all, if Tesla or any other company wants to produce 10 million remote performance electric vehicles per year in 8 years, neither the raw material reserves nor the market production capacity will stop them.
We live on a strange island with only enough battery capacity/potential to meet 0.
1% of our car production capacity.
We live on an island with abundant battery reserves. what we lack is oil.
Can not be recycled.
Hybrid cars are a great option if an electric car doesn\'t fit you today, but they will only reduce oil consumption and will only decrease by about 25%.
If we increase the team by 25%, we will be back in today\'s state.
They are not the solution to the oil crisis, but the defender who is delaying action while we are speeding up the pace of real change.
If you \'ve been delaying Tesla for an obvious medium-term reason
Long term battery supply issues, now is a good time to revisit.
I\'m optimistic about electric cars. I checked my sources. Have you?
Next time: Greening electric cars and power grids.
Disclosure: I am long TSLA.
I will probably add my position in the next 72 hours.