Dec. 11, 2017—China is taking an early lead in both the adoption of electric vehicles and securing resources of lithium to power them. In 2016 alone, more than 500,000 electric vehicles were sold in the country.
Several major Chinese auto manufacturers are planning to increase their electric vehicle (EV) quotas dramatically in the next two years based on early success by EV makers there and the Chinese Government's demands to abandon petrol fuel engines.
Combined with greater use of lithium in power grid storage, the demand is creating kind of "arms" race style competition for global lithium. So far China is ahead.
Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd is planning a $1.97 billion initial public offering (IPO) to drive its expansion and meet soaring demand for electric car batteries.
And BYD, the Chinese electric car and bus company part-owned by Warren Buffett, has talked extensively with South American lithium producers to secure supplies of the key battery material.
China, the world's most active polluter has suffered for long due to toxic effluents and greenhouse emissions, hence is one of the countries at the forefront of adopting the Paris Agreement. But this process is lithium-intensive due to the millions of batteries required to power various processes particularly electric transportation.
China does not have substantial lithium mines within its own boundaries. Lithium resources tend to be located far away from the centers of industrial muscle in North America, Europe and Asia that utilize it in large quantities.