Can the World Make an Electric Car Battery Without China?

It is one of the defining competitions of our age: The countries that can make batteries for electric cars will reap decades of economic and geopolitical advantages.

The only winner so far is China.

Despite billions in Western investment, China is so far ahead — mining rare minerals, training engineers and building huge factories — that the rest of the world may take decades to catch up.

Even by 2030, China will make more than twice as many batteries as every other country combined, according to estimates from Benchmark Minerals, a consulting group.

Here’s how China controls each step of lithium-ion battery production, from getting the raw materials out of the ground to making the cars, and why these advantages are likely to last.

China controls:41% of the world’s cobalt
28% of lithium
6% of the world’s nickel
78% of graphite
5% of manganese
REFINING:95% of manganese
73% of cobalt
70% of graphite
67% of lithium
63% of nickel
Components making:74% of separators
77% of cathodes
92% of anodes
Cathodes making:73% of NMC cathodes
99% of LFP cathodes
Battery Cells66% of the world’s battery cells

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