The surge in prices of lithium, the key battery material used to power electric vehicles, is seemingly unstoppable.
Lithium carbonate hit a fresh record of 500,500 yuan ($71,315) a ton in China on Friday, according to data from Asian Metal Inc. Prices more than tripled in the past year, inflating the cost of batteries used in EVs, with recent gains driven by strong demand and disruptions at a domestic producing hub.
Consumer support for new-energy vehicles has been gathering pace amid a global transition away from fossil fuels. The China Passenger Car Association has raised its forecast for sales of EVs to a record 6 million this year, double the total in 2021, while battery usage in the nation is also expected to almost double, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
Meanwhile, a power crunch during August in Sichuan province -- home to more than one-fifth of China’s lithium production -- caused two weeks of electricity cuts, hampering supply in an already-squeezed market.