Portrayed as the golden age of Electric Vehicles (EVs), the world of automotive has witnessed a splashing wave of unprecedented sales growth of sustainable mobility during the past few years.
Focused on the shift to greener mobility, many developed as well as developing countries are promoting the transition from conservative fuel resources to greener options.
Not to be outdone, India has also witnessed a mass adoption of Electric Vehicles with consumers preferring electric-based transport amid the high price hikes on fuels and cost savings.
Despite having a large consumer base, Indian Electric vehicle manufacturers are unable to cut down the prices of these vehicles to be on par with ICE ones, especially in the cases of electric cars.
The cost of Electric Cars is still a distant dream for an average salaried resident which results in low demand and sales of four-wheelers.
The primary reason for these sky-high prices is due to the scarcity of key Raw Materials for EV Battery cells as well as the lack of localized manufacturing units in India.
Having said that, the government of India has introduced various incentives and subsidies to promote the establishment of local manufacturing industries in the country, however, the matter of low availability of Raw Materials for EV Battery remains unresolved.
Before understanding the current trends that are encountered on How to Procure Raw Materials for EV Battery and where from, let us acquaint ourselves with the details of which type of materials are required to make an EV battery in general.
Unmasking Raw Materials for EV Battery
Known as the life source of any electric-based vehicle, EV batteries are the key component that determines the lifecycle of an EV and its feasibility.
In order to develop an EV battery, the most basic materials needed include, combination of chemical elements like graphite, cobalt, lithium, manganese and nickel.
Termed as one of the most in-demand types, Lithium-ion batteries typically operate by an anode that is made of graphite and a cathode that is made of varying combinations of cobalt, nickel, manganese, and several other alternatives.
World’s leading Electric vehicle manufacturer brand, Tesla uses lithium-nickel-cobalt-aluminum chemistry as Raw Materials for EV Battery.
And now has been researching to develop a set of cobalt-free or reduced batteries drawing on lithium-iron phosphate technology and chemistries that rely more heavily on nickel.
Sources of Raw Materials for EV Battery
Origins of Raw Materials for EV Battery are scattered all around the world, wherein mining as well as refining of these elements increases the base costs and is limited to a handful of countries.
Dissecting the raw materials in terms of their source country, we have compiled a list of which elements are found abundantly in which country and who is its primary exporter.
One of the primary components of any EV battery, Lithium is mainly concentrated in Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. Extraction of lithium is largely restricted to Australia, Chile and Argentina and a few other companies, with only four businesses dominating almost 60 % of its global production.
Apart from the expansion of existing mining & refining industries, various large-scale projects are getting planned and implemented in other countries like Canada, Mexico and Bolivia wherein Europe shows significant potential.
Other key Raw Materials for EV Battery, Cobalt is primarily imported from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the largest producer of this element. Cobalt is key to supporting the cathode in lithium-ion EV batteries and almost all of its processing takes place in China.
In order to increase the energy density of lithium-ion batteries, a much greater proportion of nickel is generally used as the Raw Materials for EV Battery cells. Nickel sulfate is one of the primary raw ingredients needed to build lithium-ion batteries, which is a niche product produced from class-I nickel (over 99 % purity).
Primary supplier of nickel includes South East Asia and, in particular, Indonesia & China, which by far are known as the biggest nickel mining country.
Predominantly used in steel production, Manganese has become a key element in lithium-ion batteries. The majority of processed manganese products needed for EV batteries are currently mined and processed in China.
Used as the anode material in lithium-ion batteries, Graphite holds the highest proportion by volume of all Raw Materials for EV Battery and also adds a hefty amount of percentage of the costs of cell production.
China plays a dominant role in almost the entire supply chain for several years, however new extraction sites in Mozambique, Tanzania and Madagascar have been discovered to relieve the pressure on this highly concentrated world market.
India’s Stance on Procuring Raw Materials for EV Battery
Still a novice in the manufacturing and refining of key elements needed for developing EV cells, the Indian government is planning to support local manufacturing of zero-emissions technologies.
Apart from its effort to boost local production output, India is fervently scouting for lithium and cobalt assets overseas to offer respite to the scarcity of Raw Materials for EV Battery.
In a recent partnership venture, a joint venture has been established with three state companies namely, National Aluminium Co., Hindustan Copper Ltd. and Mineral Exploration Corp. whose primary target is to acquire mines overseas and develop refining industries.