Lithium prices are exploding

Skyrocketing Lithium demand for EV’s sends Lithium carbonate prices to the moon. Nearly tripled from 6000 to 14000 USD per tonne in the last few months.

Get ready for expensive batteries – or Tesla losses exploding even more than they do now.

Some estimates: A commuter-class electric car consumes about 20 kWh / 100km – assuming about 100 km/h speed – ; and typically has a 30 kWh battery. Lithium carbonate contains about 1/5.6 parts in weight Lithium as it is the much lighter atom in the carbonate molecule. You need about 30 grams of Lithium for a kWh of battery IIRC.

Given these numbers, we -a colleague and I- calculated that the observed price increase of Lithium carbonate increases the materials cost for the 30 kWh battery by about 160 Euro (172 USD). Which is still a manageable cost increase for the whole care. But this also means: There’s a lot of room for further Lithium carbonate price hikes before electric cars become RIDICULOUSLY expensive (from “pretty expensive for a rather useless lifestyle symbol” as it is now).

Now it will be interesting to watch further price development. Caveat: All of this price bubble is heavily politically influenced so be warned before you buy some hand over fist.

And, before anyone accuses me of being an egotistical un-green evil combustion engine fanatic: I don’t even own a car since my VW Polo died which it did in January! I’m riding a tiny folding bike and German high speed trains which, German rail assures me, are driven by 100% renewable energy! I gotta trust them on that I fear! I’m SOOOO green all that I’d have to do now is stop eating meat and eggs and cheese and butter and discard my leather boots, my belt, wait, this is starting to sound like a stupid idea…


One thought on “Lithium prices are exploding”

  1. “You need about 30 grams of Lithium for a kWh of battery IIRC.”

    Correction: I remembered WRONG – it’s 70 grams per kWh.


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