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 US and Canadian governments to dish out millions to support production stateside.
The US 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.
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 “over time”.
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 have skyrocketed over the past year, soaring around 850 per cent 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 has 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.”