Is Lithium Scarcity a Myth or Reality?

Lithium is termed as the white gold of e-mobility and widely used in the automotive and other industries. It is a chemical element required for the manufacturing of batteries in electric cars. These batteries have evolved from portable applications over the period. Apart from the automotive sector it also has several applications in the production of lubricants, glass-ceramic cooktops, and glass ceramics. Over the past few years usage of lithium-ion batteries has caused a remarkable transformation in the actual consumption of minerals and metals.

About 70 percent of the world’s lithium comes from the salt lake (brine) and the residue is extracted from hard rock. Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile are the major supplier of lithium to the world and known as a “lithium triangle”. Mining industries are searching for alternative sources from where they can mine the lithium to increase production. Lithium is a core element in the automotive industry and increasing trend of launching e-vehicles is likely to create shortage in the storage of lithium.

Increasing demand for lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles is termed as a sober concern for the lack of lithium resources across the globe. According to market experts, to manufacture cars and the Powerwall home battery system Tesla alone is expected to need 8,000 metric tons of lithium a year by 2020. Tesla is the US-based automotive company specialized in the manufacturing for electric cars.  It has been noticed that natural resources are finite and we cannot expect that lithium reserves and resources will simultaneously increase as per the rise in market demand.

 There is a hope

Battery technology is considered one of the deciding factors for success in the electric vehicle market. Companies are coming up with an innovative solution to fight lithium shortage. General Motors and Honda are collaborating to develop battery technology which is expected to surpass the need of lithium-ion batteries. Apart from this, other electric vehicle manufacturers including Nissan, BMW, and Honda are foreseen to develop solid-state batteries to deal the situation.  

 Recently, Germany has discovered a new source of lithium from where it hopes to mine lithium. Besides, Saxon is the small community in the Zinnwald-Georgenfeld near the German-Czech border that is likely to witness the transformation in its traditional mining.

Blog Author

Mangesh Nagapurkar
September 9, 2019

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