As demand for electric vehicles grows, prices for key EV battery element lithium carbonate, reached a new high of 500,500 yuan per ton, or $71,315, according to Asian Metal Inc.
Lithium prices in China, which produces most of that particular raw material used by battery makers, tripled over the past year, leading to a surge in the cost of EV batteries. Automakers have, in turn, raised the price tags on their EVs.
There is concern in the auto industry that EV production can’t scale because of surging lithium prices and demand for EVs. Many carmakers are already transitioning toward fully EV lineups in coming years.
To help address the crunch, the U.S. has ramped up efforts to wean itself from dependence on Asia for EV batteries.
This week, high-level delegations from the U.S. and Mexico met in Mexico City to discuss partnering on an effort to shift semiconductor production from Asia to North America and to increase EV production. The plans are intended to promote North American production and chip away at Asia’s upper hand.
Mexico President Andrés López Obrador said his plan is for the northern border state of Sonora to be a leader in lithium, electric vehicle, and solar energy production.