Older, cheaper and safer battery technology that has dominated China’s electric vehicle industry is now poised to reshape battery production worldwide and boost electric vehicle sales in the United States – if lithium supplies Globally remains stable.
A series of patents for lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) chemical plants that expire in 2022 could change the face of battery manufacturing in the US and Europe.
China has owned the market for nearly a decade due to an agreement with the patent holders – a consortium of universities in the US and Canada – that allows Chinese manufacturers to use them to supply for the local market. Meanwhile, manufacturers outside of China have focused on developing other lithium-ion chemistries to power their electric vehicles as higher energy density translates into greater operational range. motion over longer distances.
LFP already accounts for 17% of the global electric vehicle market and represents a potential avenue for the mass market, according to AlixPartners 2022 Global Automotive Outlook release Wednesday.
That’s because widespread access to patents, coupled with the escalating price of battery materials, is forcing many automakers to take advantage of iron-based batteries. For starters, they cost less, don’t use scarce raw materials like cobalt and nickel, and are less likely to catch fire.
According to a report on Tuesday, there were warnings that a shortage of lithium supplies could reduce the forecast for global electric vehicle sales in 2030 to 25 million EVs, down from 40 million. from the Advanced Engine Centera partnership between the UK government and car manufacturers.
However, that doesn’t seem to stop the momentum towards LFP. Even if lithium bottlenecks slow down production, battery chemistries are still easier to produce than the NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt) that the industry currently favors, as these metals are also in short supply. .
The same organization forecasts that a quarter of electric vehicles built in Europe will use LFP. Industry analysts have also become bullish on the outlook for LFPs, predicting that iron batteries would power cheaper and cheaper cars, while cells made from nickel will be used for higher-end and performance vehicles.
According to Edgar Faler, senior industry analyst at the Center for Automotive Research, LFP batteries could play an important role in the 250 battery-electric nameplates that are coming to the US by 2030. The chemical is also a great fit. suitable for the growing demand for light and medium commercial vehicles that can transport goods in urban areas.
“In the near future, there will be a number of different branches of chemistry competing to be the chemical of choice,” says Faler.