Just How Much Lithium Does The World Need? And What Sort Of Issues Will Arise From It?

This Electric Jeep Wrangler concept will be the brands first electric vehicle when it debuts next month. Lithium Ion Battery Electric Vehicles 4xe Magneto recon J70 2028
Image Via Jeep

The automotive industry has invested billions of dollars into the transition toward electrification amid regulations enforced by governments across the globe. While there’s no turning back at this point, it’s not unknown that our planet’s raw materials are finite. The extreme demand for materials like lithium will result in skyrocketing EV prices as the material becomes harder to come by. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has discussed this in the past. Now, he stresses the importance of switching from focusing on a single source of clean mobility and opening doors to other clean options that may not require the material that has already seen record prices over the past year.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares: Creating Clean Mobility

According to a report from The Detroit News, Tavares doesn’t believe there are enough raw materials for the industry’s EV plans. The Stellantis CEO cited that there are “1.3 billion cars (that are) internal combustion engine powered on the planet,” and to accomplish clean mobility, all of those vehicles need to be replaced. That’s a lot of lithium. And not only that, but “the concentration of the mining of lithium may create other geopolitical issues.” Tavares stated at the Freedom of Mobility Forum. Tavares maintained that his company is on track to meet its self-appointed 2030 EV targets. Though, he voiced his frustration with what he characterizes as stringent regulations worldwide that solely focus on EVs.

2023 2024 Dodge Charger Banshee SRT Daytona EV Electric Muscle Car
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks

By focusing regulations solely on the adoption of electric vehicles, we’re losing significant creativity and “Scientific power that we are deciding upfront by imposing one single technology instead of having a technology-neutral regulation that would create healthy competition,” said Tavares. Luckily, there is room for some persuasion on regulations, though as we progress and raw materials become more scarce, we’re bound to see vehicle prices rise as well.

According to WardsAuto, Germany persuaded the EU to allow ICE technology powered by carbon-neutral sources such as e-fuels. Tavares supports the change, saying that e-fuels are another technology that will be developed, and the industry must demonstrate that they are carbon-neutral.

World leaders must keep an open mind to all forms of carbon-neutral technology that can result in clean mobility. Instead of imposing a single technology, governments should have a “technology-neutral regulation that would create healthy competition instead of funneling all the minds in one single direction,” Tavares stated. Clean mobility exists, but only if the energy is renewable; we have to find a solution to this problem, and lithium batteries aren’t the only option.

2024 2025 2026 Jeep Grand Cherokee Wagoneer S Electric SUV 4xe EV
Image via Jeep.

Written by Zac Quinn

Zac's love for cars started at a young age, after seeing the popular Eleanor from Gone In 60 Seconds. From there, fascination and enthusiasm blossomed and to this day the Ford Mustang remains a favorite. His first job started out detailing cars, but also provided the opportunity to work on restoration including an 1968 Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, and a C3 Corvette, though he left that job before further work and experience could be had. From there, he was a detailer at a car dealership before quitting that job to try and finish college.

Much of his free time while studying was spent watching YouTube videos regarding new cars, or off-roading. 4WD247 is a personal favorite channel which rekindled a dying flame in car enthusiasm, now tailored towards trucks and SUVs and the fun that can be had building up an overlanding rig, and going on adventures, though, that chapter remains unwritten for the time being.

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