EV demand cools, Lithium prices flatline

Boom, bust, it’s the way of the world, I guess.

The Boom in Battery Metals for EVs Is Turning to Bust

Producers of lithium and nickel pause projects after prices collapse and momentum slows for electric-vehicle sales

When the world’s most valuable lithium company last year announced plans for a $1.3 billion plant in South Carolina, local officials hailed it as transformative for the Palmetto State.

The high-tech project from Charlotte, N.C.-based [Albemarle] was designed to process different sources of lithium, including from recycled batteries, and serve as a supplier of the critical mineral for South Carolina’s burgeoning electric-vehicle industry.

Less than a year later, those plans have been hobbled by a [crash in battery metal prices], undercut by a [slowdown in electric-vehicle sales growth] in the U.S. and China. Albemarle has deferred spending on the project, amid companywide cost-cutting that includes layoffs and delays to other investments as well.

For those who won’t/can’t access, the article sub heads include: “The Economics Aren’t There” and “The Global Nickel Situation is Dire”


Meanwhile, EV demand is tampering off even in China, which hopes to begin exporting its way to happiness to keep workers and industries going.

Even the World’s Biggest Electric-Vehicle Market Is Slowing

China’s government is urging carmakers to expand overseas and BYD is ramping up export targets https://www.wsj.com/business/autos/china-electric-vehicle-demand-slowing-b4e78636

And this:


Well China is also going through an economic slowdown and property crisis that is impacting consumer confidence. That may be a factor.

Average BEV sales price = $60K. Average hybrid sales price = $42K More U.S. auto buyers are turning to hybrids as sales of electric vehicles slow | PBS NewsHour.

Those are two very different price categories. Hybrids are not directly competing with BEVs…yet. Another way of looking at the data is that at the moment consumers are intent on buying cars at the lower end of the sticker price range. In this case, hybrids are eating into the sales of ICEs.

The end of the gas car engine is proceeding.

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From that article, this is absolutely hilarious -

After peaking at nearly $63,000 last year, the average EV sale price fell to just over $60,500 in November, not including tax credits or prices from Tesla, which doesn’t release them.

They are literally quoting an average that doesn’t include more than 50% of the total market, AND the portion they exclude happens to be the lowest-cost producer in that market. LOL!!!

I don’t know about “end”, but BEV is clearly a better solution (by far) for about 50% of the population. And BEV combined with TAAS is a better solution for an additional 25% of the population. So it’s a better solution for 75% of the folks, that means it is very likely to eventually happen. But as usual, politics slows large innovations, and it’s going to slow this one as well.

The ATP for ICE power cars in the US, now that most automakers have discontinued their lowest priced models, is pushing $50K. As I said in my post about the administration retreating on the EV push, automaker cries that EVs are “too expensive” is hooey. They would love to push $60,000 cars, if they could make a fat profit margin on them.

ATLANTA, Jan. 10, 2024 – The U.S. new-vehicle average transaction price in December 2023 was $48,759, an increase of 1.3% month over month but down 2.4% year over year, according to data released today from Kelley Blue Book,