China cracks cheap lithium production in electric car breakthrough|
Scientific breakthrough leads to record low costs for essential battery ingredient...
Shenzhen, in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong province, reached an environmental milestone at the beginning of 2019, with 99 per cent of its 21,689 taxis now powered by electricity.
The cost of extracting the mineral has been slashed to a “record low” of 15,000 yuan (US$2,180) per tonne by the new process, a Chinese government report said.
That compares to an international price for lithium ranging from US$12,000 to US$20,000 per tonne – and a long-term contract price of about US$17,000 – over the past year, according to some industrial estimates.
While China’s lithium output is still relatively low, it dominates supply of the end product, producing nearly two-thirds of the world’s lithium-ion batteries, compared with 5 per cent for the United States, and also controls most of the world’s lithium processing facilities, according to data from Benchmark Minerals Intelligence.
About four per cent of the cars on the road last year were running on electricity, according to the Centre of Automotive Management, a Germany-based research institute. The biggest stock – nearly one million cars – was registered in China, believed to be one of the world’s most lithium-rich countries.