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Lithium and cobalt shoot up and risk the expansion of the electric car

Automotive News

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns that its shortage can put a brake on the development of alternative vehicles
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that the high price experienced by cobalt and lithium, two fundamental elements in the batteries of electric vehicles, can have a negative effect on the future development of this mobility technology .

The agency said that the increase in demand for electric cars has been driven in part by the drop in the cost of lithium-ion batteries, which are used in mobile phones and electric vehicles, due to technological progress .

He stressed that the strong demand for rechargeable batteries has led to an increase in the price of raw materials and has caused concern about a potential shortage of lithium and cobalt that could cause a slowdown in the expansion of electric cars.

In this sense, the IMF’s forecast is that the price of cobalt will remain high due to the shortage of supply and the growth in demand, while reminding that lithium increased its price by 30% last year, while the cobalt became more expensive 150% between September 2016 and July 2018.

However, he pointed out that there are factors that can combat the volatility of the price of such raw materials as the greater recycling of cobalt, as well as more advanced mining techniques or the development of more efficient batteries.

According to some estimates, the current cobalt reserves will be exhausted by 2039; and those of lithium, in the year 2047. Batteries have another drawback now: their price. The average cost of a conventional car is 22,000 euros and for an electric car to compete with that price the cost of batteries has to fall by 67% in the next decade. Currently, approximately 45 percent of the cost of an electric vehicle corresponds to the battery system; value that has to go down to 20 percent.

EP – Madrid – 08/14/2018 (Translation Soft)

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