Lithium scarcity threatens the electric car industry
Lithium scarcity threatens the electric car industry

The Argentine government has decided to reduce or eliminate customs duties on electric vehicles, in line with global policies aimed at encouraging the demand for sustainable cars, according to local media reports.

In a related context, the reports indicated that the decree related to making these fees range between zero and 5 percent for electric cars, instead of 35 percent of the fees usually paid on imported cars, published on Friday in the country's official newspaper.

In this regard, this step may come in light of the increasing environmental voices calling for the tax exemption of this type of cars and the increasing social awareness of the importance of adopting environmentally friendly transportation.

Why is this so much interest in electric cars, because electric cars are gradually working to rid the world of fossil fuels, as electric and solar cars tend to ally together as partners in the drive to phase out fossil fuels.

In a related context, the news agency "Bloomberg" reported that the solar energy sector and electric cars are currently competing face to face to obtain high-tech components.

The US agency explained that the parts of the "transistors" electric are the key to both electric cars and solar panels to transfer energy between direct and alternating current for use in electric lamps, devices and cars.

With the production of electric cars booming, solar component companies have to wait about a year for parts.

"A lot of people were surprised after the wait times for component shipments increased from 8 weeks to more than 50 weeks," said Brad Mikle, solar energy analyst at Williams Trading.

The "Inveras Energy" company was one of the most affected companies, as it blamed last Tuesday on the supply shortage that led to the restriction of its revenues in the first quarter and pressure on its profit margins.

Part of the problem is that component manufacturers, which are also used in consumer electronics, have been reluctant to add capacity, but with companies now submitting purchase orders 18 to 24 months in advance, said Jeffrey Osborne, analyst at Queen & Co. , The “transistor” manufacturers are stepping up production processes at the moment.

On the other hand, the scarcity of lithium threatens the electric car industry, because the race for the sources of materials used in the manufacture of batteries, especially lithium, is entering a critical stage in light of the acceleration witnessed by the demand for it from the fast growing electric car sector.

In a related context, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla company, previously described lithium as just a "salt" that is added to the power of batteries, which are the backbone of the electric car industry.

However, after less than 12 months after Musk's words, "salt" has become a source of concern for analysts and those involved in the electric car industry because of the scarcity of its sources and the small number of companies that produce lithium in the world.

John Caneltsas, president of the Latium America company that is developing a lithium mining mine in Argentina, believes that there is a growing consensus that demand for lithium is registering successive jumps and that supply may face a crisis soon.

The prices of lithium carbonate that enter the cathode tubes industry have doubled the most important components of dry batteries, since 2015, according to a recent report issued by the company "CRU", which specializes in tracking the metal. And the acceleration of major asset management companies, including "Black Rock" and "Capital Group" To buy more shares of small lithium-producing companies amid speculation that automakers will resort to investing in lithium mining to ensure their control of the sector.

The sector is concerned about the development of a demand crisis such as that witnessed demand for iron during the boom of the traditional auto industry at the end of the last century, when the high Chinese demand for it caused prices to fly crazy. It required a balance of supply and demand for several years. The battery industry may go through the same developments unless adequate investments are made for lithium mining, as consulting firms estimate the amount of money required to extract it from the South American desert and hard rocks in Australia at about $ 3 billion.

The steel sector has witnessed the acquisition by many of its industry of iron mining companies or the purchase of mines to ensure the availability of the material, which is what is expected to be experienced by the battery industry, and came in a speech delivered by a manager at the German company (Volkswagen) for the automobile industry at a special conference on lithium held in London The supply of lithium and cobalt is a major concern for automakers.

Sources of the Chinese automobile company BYD, in which Warren Buffett invests, said that they are negotiating with mining companies in Chile about securing lithium in the future, and what worries about its availability is that it is still the exclusive domain of a few small Chilean companies and two Chinese companies that produce it. in Australia.

And the circles of the electric car industry estimate the market need for lithium at about 3.1 million tons during the next twenty years to cover the expected demand, while the total of what the world currently produces does not exceed 180,000 tons.