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The West Is Becoming More Competitive In The Battery Boom

  • China’s dominance in the global battery market seems to be slipping.
  • The U.S. and Canadian governments are rushing to increase domestic production of key battery metals.
  • Venture Capital firms are also investing huge amounts of cash in battery projects.

The world’s supply of advanced batteries, critical for electric cars, could be shifting West, say, analysts, as production grinds to a halt in Asia. China’s most recent Covid-19 lockdowns have ‘chipped away’ at the country’s dominance in the battery market, analysts at independent energy researcher Rystad Energy, Susan Zou and Abhishek Murali, explained.

Businesses have been battling with a choked supply since the pandemic began, which has prompted the likes of Tesla and the U.S. and Canadian governments to dish out millions to support production stateside.

The U.S. Department of Energy has offered a conditional loan of $107m (£84m) to graphite miner Syrah Resources to expand their Louisiana processing facility in Louisiana.

Canada earlier this month confirmed in its federal budget that it will invest $1.6bn (£1.2bn) over the entire electric vehicle (EV) supply chain.

Related: Can Lebanon Repair Its Failing Energy Sector?

While Tesla’s boss Elon Musk has plans to turn his new Texas car factory, of 338m cubic feet in volume, into the biggest battery cell facility in the world “overtime”.

Comments made by Musk at the recent unveiling of the factory suggest he is already alive to the attractive returns in the new race for advanced batteries.

The value of venture capital deals in the advanced battery space has skyrocketed over the past year, soaring around 850 percent year-on-year in 2021, according to analytics firm GlobalData.

China’s EV battery maker SVOLT, based the Jiangsu province – a major manufacturing hub – snagged $930m (£*) from investors in December. However, the province has been subject to tough Covid-19 measures which have paused production.

“Big deals from VC investors are pushing forward the advanced batteries funding to a new high,” said senior disruptive tech analyst at GlobalData, Prasad Kakade.

“The interest is likely to be driven by clean energy requirements and the growing demand for zero-emission, all-electric cars. With new opportunities flocking to these areas, battery materials with minimal environmental footprint and sustainable designs would create a new race for battery supremacy.”

By City AM

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