Developing lithium shortages could pose a very big problem for the up and coming electric car industry.
According to recent statistics, demand is already outstripping supply by 15%, which explains why the price of lithium has moved higher. But it’s not finished yet. Experts says this number is about to spike much higher.
We know that Chevy is releasing the Bolt this year and that will put further weight on the market, but it’s Elon Musk’s plans for Tesla that could really put pressure on resource producers. The company is preparing to role out the Tesla Model 3, an affordable electric vehicle for the masses. Tesla has reportedly already pre-sold some 500,000 Tesla 3 vehicles that are scheduled to be delivered over the next 12 – 24 months.
With so many cars getting ready to ship out to customers Elon Musk recently stated that he will need the world’s entire lithium supply annually in order to meet demand.
The race for lithium access is on and the chart below shows where we’re headed over the next 20 years:
Musk’s biggest competitor, Warren Buffet’s BYD, has also echoed the challenges facing the industry. Buffet’s company also says they are going to require the entire world’s lithium supply to meet demand.
And even car manufacturers are getting into the game. Volkswagen just invested $9 billion into the development of a battery factory, and Ford, Toyota, GM, and Nissan aren’t far behind.
With every car manufacturer in the world moving to electric, investment firm Goldman Sachs predicts lithium demand will surge over 1,000% in coming years.
The problem, says David Sidoo of resource firm Advantage Lithium, is “the resources are there, but the production is not even close.”
So, there’s lithium all over the planet, but the companies that mine it can’t get it out of the ground fast enough.
Sidoo says his company has been working overtime to ramp up production to meet demand.
The next 5 years will be very interesting in this sector, as industry giants fight over lithium supply and market forces continue to demand more electric vehicle options.
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