A story published by CNNMoney tells us “Don’t believe a word about electric cars and the coming lithium shortage.”
The article asserts that “skeptics think there might be trouble accessing enough lithium to fuel the shift” to electric vehicles. It quotes Shai Agassi of Better Place, saying, “That was one of the biggest myths perpetuated by the oil guys.”
The sources we’ve talked to heartily concur. There’s no shortage of lithium. In fact, most reliable sources say the opposite: There’s going to be an oversupply of lithium-ion batteries. Researchers from Pike Research and Lux Research have repeatedly told us that they don’t expect sales of electric vehicles to be great enough to support the fast-growing lithium-ion battery market. Lux predicts there will be 18.2 gWh of lithium-ion batteries available by 2015, with sales of about 11.0 gWh.
“When the U.S. government and other governments offer billions of dollars in subsidies to lithium-ion battery manufacturers to build new plants, they’re going to build new plants,” notes Jacob Grose, an analyst for Lux Research. “Unlike the market, which is pretty good at matching supply and demand, governments aren’t considering demand, and they’re creating conditions that are just right for a glut.”
The CNNMoney story does not quote any of the “oil guys” who claim there’s going to be a shortage.