China's electric car battery technology far ahead of US: Report

China's electric car battery technology far ahead of US: Report

China controls 41 per cent of the world’s cobalt, mostly by owning mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

FPJ BureauUpdated: Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 12:15 PM IST
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China's electric car battery technology far ahead of US: Report | File

Despite billions in Western investment, China is so far ahead in making batteries for electric cars that the rest of the world may take decades to catch up, reports The New York Times.

Here’s how China controls each step of lithium-ion battery production, from getting the raw materials to making the cars.

Mining: China has bought its way into a cheap and steady supply of essential rare minerals needed to make the batteries. It controls 41 per cent of the world’s cobalt, mostly by owning mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Investments in Indonesia will help China become the largest controller of nickel by 2027, according to a consulting firm.

Refining: Regardless of who mines the minerals, nearly everything is shipped to China to be refined. Chinese companies are supported by the government with cheap land and energy, and can refine minerals at a larger volume and a lower cost.

Components: China makes most of the parts that go into a battery. It has recently invested in a cheaper alternative to the cathode, which is the positive terminal of the battery. These cathodes now account for half the market.

Assembly: China makes the most batteries — and the most cars. Labor costs are lower, and there are more equipment manufacturers, so the country can build battery factories at nearly half the cost of others in North America or Europe, an expert said.

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