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Podcast: Western EV Battery Strategy Starts with Final Assembly

Author Charles Murray argues the West must build up its battery assembly lines to confront China’s dominance.
Chuck Murray
Chuck Murray

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By George Leopold

China’s lead in electric vehicle (EV) battery technology and production appears insurmountable. Is there any segment of the EV battery supply chain where U.S.-based competitors can catch up?

Yes, asserts EV battery tracker and author Charles Murray. Their focus, Murray says, should be on the final assembly of battery packs and other form factors needed by western EV manufacturers. In a podcast interview, Murray also detects progress in efforts to supplement western lithium supplies from geothermal brines.

We don’t want to be at the mercy of the Chinese EV battery supply chain.

Charles Murray

Nevertheless, Chinese companies makers maintain a stranglehold on the EV battery supply chains. This state of affairs will likely to continue for the foreseeable future while innovators look to new battery chemistries and, eventually, silicon-based solid-state components to replace graphite anodes.

While China’s “long-game” investments in battery technology have paid off with global domination of the battery EV sector, Murray notes that Beijing has locked up much of the battery supply chain through what he characterizes as cartels. That has translated into control of mining, materials processing, procurement contracts and battery manufacturing.

In making the case for a Western battery manufacturing strategy focused on final assembly, Murray asserts: “We don’t want to be at the mercy of that” Chinese dominance.

Listen to our podcast:

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George Leopold, a frequent contributor to the Ojo-Yoshida Report, is the author of Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom.

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