‘Battery arms race’: how China has monopolised the electric vehicle industry

(EurActiv, 26 Nov 2021) Think of an electric car and the first name that comes to mind will probably be Tesla. The California company makes the world’s bestselling electric car and was recently valued at $1tn. But behind this US success story is a tale of China’s manufacturing might. EURACTIV’s media partner, The Guardian Environment, reports.

Tesla’s factory in Shanghai now produces more cars than its plant in California. Some of the batteries that drive them are Chinese-made and the minerals that power the batteries are largely refined and mined by Chinese companies.

As the world transitions to electric vehicles (EVs), companies are racing to secure and strengthen their positions in the battery supply chain, from mineral extraction and processing to battery and EV manufacturing.

The sector has seen a move towards vertical integration – where one company controls a number of steps along the supply chain – to guarantee supply and, in some cases, to improve transparency.

And in what has been dubbed, the “battery arms race”, China is in pole position.

China is the world’s biggest market for EVs with total sales of 1.3m vehicles last year, more than 40% of sales worldwide. Chinese battery-maker CATL controls about 30% of the world’s EV battery market.

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EurActiv, 26 Nov 2021: ‘Battery arms race’: how China has monopolised the electric vehicle industry