Sunday, July 2, 2023

"Japan’s EV ambitions pose battery recycling conundrum"

Former Alphavillain David Keohane at the Financial Times, July 2, 2023:

Reliance on imports means policymakers face tough decisions on reuse

    In June, Toyota’s leadership took to the stage at the carmaker’s research facility near Mount Fuji and spelt out a detailed battery strategy — one that could help it achieve a goal of selling 3.5mn electric vehicles by 2030. The preview even included plans to commercialise solid-state battery technology in an EV as soon as 2027.

But these bold ambitions — from a company that sold just 38,000 electric vehicles in the last financial year — only underscore the challenges that Toyota, and corporate Japan, face in ramping up their EV targets as the world seeks a more sustainable way to produce car batteries.

That is because Japan’s renewed push into EVs coincides with intensified efforts on the part of the US and its allies to reduce their reliance on China for critical supplies — including battery materials.

China currently controls large parts of the EV and battery supply chain, producing 68 per cent of the world’s cathodes and nearly 90 per cent of its anodes, according to the International Energy Agency. The OECD estimates that the country alone exported one-third of the world’s lithium ion batteries in 2017, and 38 per cent of them in 2020.

And that supply cannot be taken for granted. In 2010, China embargoed the export of rare earths, serving a wake-up call to Japanese policymakers, who have since worked to reduce the country’s reliance on China for the production of cobalt and nickel. However, China still accounts for a large portion of the smelting of these metals....


This is the first time we've seen his byline since he was in Paris a few years ago:

And quite a few more, you get the idea, a pretty good writer. 

And the whole FT Alphaville oeuvre.