Lithium Deficit incoming? — 2/3 of batteries come from 3 companies — NASCAR going electric

Hey, Jaan here.

Here's the layout of our precious EV industry this week.

  • [Deep Dive] Are we heading towards a lithium deficit?
  • [Follow-up] The Inflation Reduction Act.
  • Spotlight: The Microlino 2.0.
  • Thomas Edison worked on EV batteries.
  • Nearly 2/3 of world's battery supply comes from three companies.

The 2,298 words here should take about 12 minutes to read. Enjoy!

- Jaan


Deep Dive: Lithium Virtual Reality

At first, I was writing this under the "stuff I'm reading" section at the end part of the newsletter (always gold... *khm* lihtium there). But it's important and... I'm worried.

We see all these new gigafactories announced every other week with great capacity promises.

And this is great, because we need that capacity.

The thing is, battery capacity can be built up much faster than lithium projects that feed 'em. It can take almost a decade for a mining project to reach its nameplate capacity. A decade.

And due to the lack of investment in new supply in previous years (and massive red tape), we are on the road to a structural deficit of lithium supply in the coming years.

Joe Lowry, aka Mr. Lithium, wrote an overview on the state of Lithium supply called "Lithium: Virtual Reality" (5pp, link). I'd bring out two resonating points of his article here.

The first one hits direct, in the light of the recent announcements (example: the announcements we recently covered about Ford):

Many OEMs seem to have adopted the strategy that signing multiple supply agreements with companies that do not have a clear path to production is the new form of hedging their supply risk.
[...] OEM's that just a couple of years ago believed lithium supply was "the battery supplier's problem" are now in full-fledged panic as evidenced by the plethora of recently signed 'virtual lithium supply agreements'.

Read Joe's second point about the deficit and learn about SPGlobal's Deficit Road Map on our website:

Road to Lithium Deficit

Sorry for linking you out of here for a moment, but this makes the newsletter more 'skimmable'. I'll sum it all up in one meme for you, too:

Lithium Meme



Tomorrow's EV Universe Pro report will feature:

  • 8 takes and 3 funding announcements on the global EV industry.
    Like Arrival cutting Bus and Car development to focus on Van.
  • 5 news about specific EV models.
    Like the Zeekr 009 unveiling.
  • 5 production- and 4 sales updates.
    Like Ford's EV sales analysis.
  • 6 Battery and Recycling news, with 2 funding announcements.
    Like Nexeon's $220M Series D raise.
  • 5 Charging news and 5 of funding and acquisitions
    Like Fastned leaking e-Macan's charging curve or GRIDSERVE raising £200M.

All important developments that I've filtered out from ~2,000 EV-related news every week. Easily read in sections.

And you're missing this, every week. Don't miss it, sign up for Pro.


Follow-up: Inflation Reduction Act

I outlined the details of the bill last week here. The US Senate has since voted in favor of the IRA, by a narrow majority of 51 to 50. Next up - the House of Representatives, where it should pass easier as it has a slight Democrat majority.

Meanwhile, industry lobby groups are saying the tax breaks are too hard to get (link). I've yet to dig deeper on this, but it's said that little to no EVs on the market today qualify for the new EV tax credit (link).

Senator Manchin told reporters (link):

"Tell (automakers) to get aggressive and make sure that we're extracting in North America, we're processing in North America and we put a line on China. I don't believe that we should be building a transportation mode on the backs of foreign supply chains. I'm not going to do it."

Rivian says the bill puts it at a disadvantage, as other automakers have had more time to ramp up production and get a more affordable EV on the road (the $80k price cap hurts the eligibility of Rivian's current pickup line).

Meanwhile, Rivian sends its preorder and reservation holders a "written binding contract" to qualify for the $7.5k federal tax credit before the IRA becomes law (link).

Something I left out last week - remember the latest news on USPS that 'upped' the EV share of its fleet to 40%? Well, the IRA also contains $3B for the US Postal Service to decarbonize its delivery fleet. (link) This would mean they don't have ways to maneuver themselves out of a near-100% electric fleet anymore.


EV Spotlight

This is not a car! Or at least their website says so.

The first Microlino 2.0 was delivered in Zurich to twi restaurant owners:


I've always found this a fun concept... which is now very much an EV on the roads. Here are some specifications (link):

  • Has space for 2 adults and 3 beer crates (230l trunk).
  • Can be cross-parked, just step out to the sidewalk from the front-door.
  • Starts at ~$16k, currently delivering 999 units of Pioneer Series ($21.6k)
  • Battery variants of 6-14 kWh gives it a range of 95-230 km (59-143 mi).
  • Top speed of 90 kmh (56 mph)
  • Charges from home socket in 4 hours.
  • Will get a question "is this a BMW Isetta?" every two hours.

OK, the last one isn't exactly on the official specs, but if you look around at every mention of the car on social media...

Here's the Pioneer Series Unveiling from 2 months ago (video) and a virtual launch event explaining the backstory, chassis, and more (video).

I've driven the Citroën AMI and was very underwhelmed. I have a feeling I'd enjoy driving this one.



What's is the picture composed of and where is it now?

Make sure to drop me your guess as a reply!


Last week's answer: the guy next to the car is Thomas Edison. The text reads "1000 mile endurance run, Bailey Electric. New Edison storage battery."

Lennart was the fastest to answer, followed by Daidipya, Rain, Jessica and Elisha who got it right too. Thanks for playing — you have unlocked a backstory!

Edison with Bailey Electric

This is from the 4th newsletter issue I ever wrote, we were at 87 readers back then.

Edison working on EV batteries

Turns out, our boy Edison helped to expand the EV Universe from the start. In 1899, just about 4 years after the first practical gas-powered cars were introduced, Edison started to develop a storage battery suitable for cars. He believed it was a more economical solution than gasoline.

A Better Battery

Edison developed a nickel-alkaline battery, that was more durable and safe than the lead-acid batteries that were in use before. The newly developed batteries were unfortunately also larger and more expensive, which lead to higher initial car prices. It's an argument even nowadays, but back then it was really hard for him to get the manufacturers to increase the initial price of their cars. The lower long-term cost of operating the car wasn't something people take into account. Some companies did use these batteries for electric delivery trucks.

It's All About Timing

Timing was also a bit off, as in 1908 Henry Ford had introduced the Model T, just around two years before Edison was ready to manufacture his batteries on a larger scale.

I hope we have more luck this time around.

⚡ Tour-de-Universe

ICYMI, last week's most clicked link was: my Deep Dive on 4 reasons why Diess was ousted from Volkswagen Group and what's next (link, 1,568 words).

🏭 The BMW i3 production is now done forever. (link) The last 18 cars were built in a special Galvanic Gold shade and will go to a Munich car rental company CarVia. See our EV spotlight on i3 ending production after the 250,000th unit here.

i3 ending production

🌎 Tesla might go for new cell chemistry for Model Y's, with CATL supplying LMFP (also called M3P internally) batteries to Tesla in Q4 (link). LMFP stands for Lithium Manganese Iron Phosphate and should increase energy density of the LFP batteries. Tesla is said to also be developing its own LMFP batteries.

This is a currently overlooked but in my eyes an important development, especially as Tesla didn't opt for CATL's Qilin batteries. Watch this space. I'll start dissecting this move soon in our Pro reports.

⚡ All 50 states of US, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have now submitted the EV infrastructure deployment plans for the $5B NEVI scheme. (link) Here's US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, discussing the new climate bill in The Late Show (video) and the NEVi part too. She is *so* excited, it's contagious.

🔋 203.4 GWh was installed as EV batteries in the Universe in the first half of 2022, via SNE Research (link) This is almost double the 105 GWh of the first half of last year. Top three suppliers:

  • 34.8% (70.9 GWh) CATL
  • 14.4% (26.2 GWh) LGES
  • 11.8% (24 GWh) BYD

So, put differently, more than a third (38.4%) of our EV batteries come from CATL and almost two-thirds (61%) come from just three battery makers...

📈 Gotion High-Tech lists on the Swiss Stock Exchange (link). has been listed on the Swiss stock exchange, raising about $685M through Global Depositary Receipt (GDR) offerings. With the battery data above, Gotion is currently the 8th-largest battery maker with 5.8GWh installed and a 2.9% market share in the first half of this year.

Connections: Gotion is one of VW Group's battery bets, as VW is the largest shareholder with ~26% of the battery maker and has agreements to supply battery cells for VW — possibly its 'unified cell' in China and it is the partner for SalzGiga we covered earlier. It also has deals with Great Wall and VinFast.

💸 Ford raises the prices for the F-150 ⚡ by $6-8.5k, just before opening the ordering books again today. (link) Now MSRP starts at $46,974.

💸 Nissan introduces an EV rental program in Japan to "preserve control of metals, such as lithium". (link)

🏎️ NASCAR might be unveiling an all-electric racing series next year, per these (detailed) leaked presentation slides (link)

⚡ PlugShare has reached a milestone of 2 million registered users (link) and registered its 5-millionth 'check in' globally (that's when users rate their charging experience). (link) Currently, there are over 600k chargers listed, 100k of those are fast-chargers. Looks like the platform keeps performing after being acquired by EVgo in July last year (our take here).

⚡ Ramping up: Fastned reports a strong growth so far this year. Here are the stats compared to the first half of 2021, from the latest reports (slide deck 19pp pdf, interim report 34pp pdf):


Congratulations to our readers from Fastned - you have worked hard on making an impact on our Universe... and it's starting to show.



This section for setbacks in our industry is getting an unsettlingly large part of the newsletter recently. But it is a must-know, so here we go:

🚫 General Motors has proactively initiated a voluntary recall of sorts for 424 of its Hummer EV over a potential battery connector issue on the vehicle (link). GM calls it a 'Customer Satisfaction Program'. The issue: high-voltage connector may corrode, resulting in water potentially leaking into the high-voltage battery pack.

🚫 Ioniq 5 is in for a chip supply problem, as Infineon wrote off two months' worth of production due to a flaw detected in the chips. (link)

🚫 Word of caution. If you see Saleen Automotive raising money (Reg A+, $1 price per share and targeting $30M) somewhere, I invite you to do the due diligence. The company is making claims about modifying Tesla vehicles, so it might look attractive at first. Here's the story of why it's not: (link).

Fred Lambert, the EV journalist behind Electrek, is targeted by a lawsuit from Saleen, which tries to cover its tracks of current shady financials and costing its investors when delisting in the past. Now, Saleen says in a video that it is the first time he is offering the company for public investment. Fred is raising on GoFundMe for legal costs (link). PS! This is not financial advice.


Stuff I'm...


👀 Nico Rosberg gets his Rimac Nevera, drives & discusses with Mate Rimac.

video preview


👀  This video from Munro Live is titled: "When people ask us how structural the pack is".

👀 The Ghost Station of Yutong Bus in China - e-buses autonomously lining up for charging. (video)

👀 Roger Atkins went behind the scenes to REE's UK facility - you know, the delivery van in our EV spotlight last week. (video)


📚  The Battery Atlas from Heiner Heimes of RWTH Aachen University maps the European battery industry — from Cell, Module and Pack producers to suppliers, recyclers and test centers. (11pp pdf)

A proper big picture resource. Loving it. As a little teaser - I'm working on an interactive version of something like these, but globally.

📚 Circular Energy Storage forecasts that if all announced plans of recycling companies in Europe and North America will materialize, the battery recycling will suffer from (pre-processing) overcapacity and material shortage (link).

📚 What if we used 'coffee cups' as a measure of (EV) efficiency? A thought experiment from our friends at Faction (link).

CUP efficiency


Michael Dunne hosted the co-founder of Volta Foundationf, Yen Yeh, on the ZoZoGo podcast (24min). Michael's podcast itself is well worth following btw, lots to discover in the EV space.

Aaaaaand that's about it for today.