Mushy, flaccid, batteries

Panasonic warned of lax demand for EV batteries.

Tesla shaved a bit more.

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Lax indeed.

“Japan’s Panasonic Holdings said Monday it is slashing domestic electric battery production by 60%”


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Software problems will cause delays in battery demand.

The Volkswagen Group is slashing 2,000 jobs at its Cariad software division as a part of a strategic restructuring plan, triggering a chain reaction of delays for the development of future electric vehicle platforms, German publication manager magazine reported yesterday.


Lithium has tumbled almost 70% so far this year, while nickel has plummeted around 40%. Cobalt too has dropped…laid low by slowing sales growth for electric vehicles as well as supply increases coming out of China, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo…

A “huge build-out” in Chinese battery capacity, aided by government policies, means supply outweighs demand by two to one, ANZ Group Holdings Ltd. analysts Daniel Hynes and Soni Kumari said in a note last week. This has seen battery markers cut output and reduce their inventories…

The lower metal prices are providing some cost relief to automakers and battery producers and could lead to cheaper EVs for consumers…In the longer term, the question is whether the current cycle of lower prices sees companies canceling or delaying plans for new mines or refineries for the coming decade


Surge in Supply Outpaces Demand

How many times in the last few years did posters here complain that we couldn’t switch to EVs because there wasn’t enough (fill-in-metal-here) for the transition to happen?


Probably no one else was feeling persecuted until they saw the word batteries in the subject?

Some, for sure. And they might even still end up being right, because the scarcity/expense arguments were mostly directed at switching to EV’s, not just building some EV’s.

IOW, if one is arguing that there’s not enough FIMH for a transition from mostly ICE’s to mostly EV’s, and then rising interest rates knock back demand for EV’s long before we get to the “mostly EV’s” phase, we still don’t know yet whether that argument is right or wrong. Personally, I’m of the opinion that there’s no reason we couldn’t allocate enough FIMH to build however many EV’s we want to - but the price of that FIMH, which will certainly face competing uses, may limit the number of EV’s we want to build.

And in the linked article they mention reduced demand for the batteries met up with increasing production. Also, they project raw material shortages in a couple of years.


Of course researchers are constantly working on new battery chemistries and, probably, in 5-10 years there will be lots of battery options since every vehicle doesn’t have to meet the specs of the ideal ICE replacement. Recycling will also be an important part of the industry.

I also recall way back (in the 1980s) that the idea of a PC on every desk was thought to be silly because the semiconductor industry had no where near the capacity to make enough chips and we’d need to find other ways to make chips out of other materials. Well we still use silicon, but with a variety of different doping materials and techniques. And we have enough capacity not only for a PC on every desk but also in every pocket including lots of the developing countries.

IIRC at the time the PC industry was ~5M per year. Now it is like 300M for PCs and 1.5B -1.7B phones per year. That’s ~400x in a few decades. (Not even counting tablets, e-readers, TVs and everything else that now has chips inside–including cars)