The world is changing every moment and changing very fast. The business models too have been changing. From the conventional Profit and Loss approach, they have moved on to incorporate social responsibility and climate change impact in their business vision and mission.
The transition of the Auto industry from the ICE technology to the EV platform is another step in the above direction.
The Lithium-Ion Batteries powered EVs are supposed to herald in pollution-free, sound-free Auto Industry makeover. But the future is not as simple as that.
The change in the switch over to Lithium-Ion Batteries from the Fossil Fuels will shake the World Order like never before. It will destroy the wealth and power of the Oil-based economies suddenly and forever.
The European Commission has estimated that the number of electric vehicles on the road could increase ten-fold to 200 million in the next 7 years.
And the batteries make up about 40% of the total vehicle cost. As of now, China has control of about two-thirds of the world's battery production. And China is presently involved in a tussle for dominance of the World Economy with the other nations including the USA, European Union, Japan, India, and other nations.
There is, as of now, negligible battery production in Europe and the US. The European Union has planned to increase its contribution from 3% to 25% of battery production by 2028.
Last year the bloc approved a 3.2 billion euros state subsidies from France, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, and Poland to stimulate investments for setting up “gigafactories in Europe. Tesla has now announced its plans for a “gigafactory” in Germany and a $1 billion facility in Sweden part-funded by Volkswagen.
There is an irony too, in the Lithium-Ion Batteries. These batteries are electrically charged, and from where does their electricity for charging come from. It comes from coal-fired or nuclear-generated electricity. So, even though your EV does not use coal and leave carbon footprints, the batteries do; and they make up 40% of the cost of your car.
And the minerals for the batteries are rare and require extensive mining. They also have a huge environmental cost attached to them. There is always a constant risk of leakage of toxic substances in the waterways. The commercial benefits of mining the rare minerals could be done in gross violations of labor laws and safety norms.
And the availability of the rare minerals is limited and could come under stress or get exhausted if the demand far outstrips supply. The charging of the materials in the batteries is often very long and costly.
Cost-effective, less environmentally demanding minerals and technologies need to be continually explored, to limit the scope for damage. The future is fraught with uncertainties and possibilities.