News Digest Item
31 Jul 2017

“Risky dependence”

Die Welt

If Germany’s car industry implements its long-announced shift to e-mobility and catches up with competitors in other countries, supplying it with raw materials for battery production and other e-car components could become a major challenge, Daniel Eckert writes in Die Welt. “Supply chain interruptions by only one supplier in the highly concentrated market for high-tech-minerals can lead to an explosion in prices,” Eckert says. Materials such as rare earths or lithium are needed for green technology, from e-cars to wind turbines and solar panels, and the political clout of important source countries like China is set to increase dramatically, he argues. Many of these raw materials are not traded on open markets “but have to be obtained via long-term contracts with producers,” he explains. If Germany’s next government initiates a true “car transition” towards e-mobility, global demand for lithium might substantially exceed global production, Eckart argues, adding that “nobody knows for sure.”

For more information on the Energiewende’s dependence on raw materials, see the World Bank report The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future.

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