In order to meet the targets it has committed itself to under the Paris Climate Agreement, the EU aims to produce 10 million electric vehicles for the EU market by 2030. This push for vehicle electrification does not only serve Europe’s climate goals, but also the drive toward technological innovation and strategic autonomy by reducing the EU’s dependence on technology and products imported from China. In order to achieve this goal however, it must drastically ramp up its efforts to secure the rare earth minerals required for batteries.
This brings with it a host of geo-economic and geopolitical challenges. At present, large parts of the Lithium-ion battery (LiB) supply chain are dominated by China and battery mineral prices are experiencing a great deal of volatility, with ripple effects throughout the supply chain. This signals the need for Europe to diversify not only its supply chains, but also its materials and marketing activities.
In light of these challenges, this paper describes the impact that battery minerals have on the production costs of LiBs, how this echoes through the entire LiB supply chain and eventually the EU’s chances to create a mass market for electric vehicles on European soil.