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Tesla’s competition is about to get more crowded next year with many legacy automakers and luxury brands launching a record number of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
All EV makers will have one common element that could help lift demand for battery vehicles—rising oil prices leading to fuel prices at four-year highs, which could turn consumers towards EVs.
To be sure, charging infrastructure and range are still key concerns in consumers’ minds regarding EVs, but utilities and major oil firms such as Shell and BP are already looking to expand the charging infrastructure, especially in Europe.
Battery pack prices have been dropping constantly this decade and are expected to continue to fall. In terms of cost comparison, some estimates point to battery pack costs becoming competitive with the internal combustion engine (ICE) cars by 2027.
Rallying oil prices, with Brent Crude topping $85 a barrel this week, come just as the number of global offerings of EVs next year is expected to rise by 20 percent to 216 models, research by Bloomberg NEF shows.
“The higher the price of oil the more tailwind we’re going to have behind electric cars,” Bloomberg quoted Carlos Ghosn, chairman of Renault and Nissan Motor, as saying at the Paris Motor Show this week.
Next year, Nissan will launch the sale of a longer-range model of its best-selling EV Leaf.
German carmakers are also jumping into the EV competition.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled last month its first all-electric model Mercedes-Benz EQC, which will be launched on the market in 2019. BMW is teasing the premiere of a new concept EV, BMW Vision iNEXT. Audi has started mass production of the Audi e-tron, the brand’s first all-electric SUV, and deliveries are scheduled to begin in the spring of 2019.
Ultra-luxury brands will also be offering electric vehicles. Aston Martin is building Rapide E with a target range of over 200 miles and projected top speed of 155 mph, with customer deliveries set for Q4 2019. Porsche is working on its first purely electric series, Taycan, and plans to invest more than US$6.9 billion (6 billion euro) in electromobility by 2022, doubling its initially planned expenditure.
While almost every carmaker out there is unveiling or planning EV models, gasoline prices are up and even after the end of the U.S. driving season, the national gas price average as of October 1 was $2.88 – a pump price not seen since mid-July.
“The last quarter of the year has kicked off with gas prices that feel more like summer than fall,” AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano said.
“This time of year, motorists are accustomed to seeing prices drop steadily, but due to continued global supply and demand concerns as well as very expensive summertime crude oil prices, motorists are not seeing relief at the pump.”
High fuel prices could be part of consumers’ motivation to buy more EVs.
Global cumulative EV sales are already 4 million, according to Bloomberg NEF, which notes that the time for reaching each of the million sales has been rapidly shrinking. The first million in sales, reached in Q4 2015, took around 60 months to achieve; the second million came in 17 months; the third million took 10 months; and the fourth million needed just six months. Bloomberg NEF expects the next million EVs to take just over 6 months and the five-millionth EV to be sold in March next year.
The EV share of the global car fleet is still minuscule, considering that the world’s stock of cars is 1.2 billion units. But battery costs and range are less and less the stumbling blocks in EV adoption, according to Wood Mackenzie. Battery is one third of the cost of an EV today. Yet, costs have already declined by 80 percent this decade and will fall further. Battery pack prices will drop below US$200/kWh this year and then fall by around 10 percent each year, WoodMac said in July.
EVs will displace around 5 million bpd to 6 million bpd of oil demand by 2040—some 5 percent of total oil demand, the consultancy has estimated.
ICE cars are not going anywhere in the next decade or two, but the higher the price of oil, the more competition they’ll have from EVs and the more incentives consumers will get to pick an EV for their next new car.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Lithium Boom – The World’s Hottest Commodity Just Got Hotter
Article includes excerpts from Oilprice.com, Lithium Investing news & other sources:
Lithium is the hottest commodity on the planet right now. It is the most important component of electric vehicles, high-energy batteries, power storage, a vast menu of consumer electronics—and even Nirvana-reaching drugs.
Even today’s hyper-growth EV industry is just the tip of the iceberg compared with where it’s headed.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that 35% of all new vehicle sales by 2040 will be EVs, equivalent to 100 million units every year.
Tesla’s “halo effect” will make astute investors lifetime riches because that’s 100 times greater than current production.
All that growth will present some serious supply chain challenges. But in this massive opportunity, the key to everything is GRADE. Not all lithium is equal.
The majors can increase production, but only to a certain degree–and not nearly fast enough to meet growing demand. If you are looking for outsized gains on your lithium investment, you need to expand your horizon to new entrants with high-quality reserves.
High-grade lithium producers are where EVERY EV manufacturer will be looking as they seek to keep battery production costs low.
Below is a list of the top eight lithium-producing countries in the world.
- Australia – Mine production: 14,300 MT
- Chile – Mine production: 12,000 MT
- Argentina – Mine production: 5,700 MT
- China – Mine production: 2,000 MT
- Zimbabwe – Mine production: 900 MT
- Portugal – Mine production: 200 MT
- Brazil – Mine production: 200 MT
- United States – Mine production: Unknown
Prices of battery-grade lithium in China, the biggest Li-ion battery producer, surged above $20,000 per tonne in 2016–much higher than the global average.
Now, China has traditionally sourced its lithium from Australia, but increasing competition in the EV space and falling prices of EVs has forced it to look elsewhere for cheaper sources. Chile for example mines lithium from brines located just below easily accessible salt flats. The Atacama salt flat in Chile is the source of 37 percent of the world’s entire lithium production.
Chinese and Korean investors are already engaged in advanced talks with the Chilean government to open up a huge $2 billion Lithium battery plant to feed on the country’s rich lithium reserves. This could kick off an even more ferocious scramble for the precious metal–especially if China starts hoarding and puts further pressure on already constrained supplies.
But with rocketing demand, pressure is on to identify and exploit new resources. Plenty of opportunities exist. Japanese company Hanwa is a cornerstone investor into the Sonora lithium Project in Mexico to supply the fast-growing Asian battery market.
And operated by European Metals Holdings, the Cinovec lithium resource in the Czech Republic is expected to become the central lithium supply hub for European EV industry.
Low production costs are extremely important for EV manufacturers, now more than ever.
Batteries and power trains account for the biggest chunk of EV manufacturing costs. The high cost of these line items is the #1 reason why EVs have remained pricier than they could be. But advancements in battery technology have helped bring costs down–so much so that Tesla can now afford to offer the Model 3 for just $35,000, or half the price of an entry-level Model S.
Near-future demand is so overwhelming that we are in real danger of massive deficits. Current global Lithium-ion cell production can only supply 900,000-1 million electric vehicles.
Tesla is on course to kick off production of its first mass-produced vehicle–the Model 3– in July, and has already amassed 373,000 reservations. That’s five times the company’s 2016 sales.
Tesla has a goal to produce 500,000 Model 3s per year by the end of 2018, and could hit a million units as early as 2020. The company also sells home and industrial energy products, including Powerwalls. About 51Kg of Lithium goes into each Model S, while each Powerwall 2.0 unit packs 10Kgs of the metal.
Source: Visual Capitalist
Global production will ramp up more than 500 percent between 2016 and 2020, and while China will be doing much of the heavy lifting, the emerging resources in USA and Europe will all have a key role to play too.
Source: Visual Capitalist
By 2025, the battery market alone will be twice as big as today’s entire lithium market.
Therein, of course, lies the massive opportunity. Investors will want to identify owner / operator companies, and investment vehicles involved in a spread of risk – ranging from early stage resources to assets close to / in production. Time is of the essence though: these heady growth projections will be mirrored in stock price gains.
Excerpts from Oilprice.com article. Other sources Lithium Investing news:
Cadence Minerals (KDNC.L) is a unique early investment strategy & development firm, within the mineral resource sector. We identify undervalued assets, with irreplaceable strategic advantages. We invest in them and help turn them into powerhouses. Lithium and other technology minerals must get to market in order to achieve the global green revolution. We uncover new ways and places to extract and process these minerals, so that burgeoning demand is met; and our tomorrow is better.