The US Senate is sounding the alarm: the US is about two decades behind China in battery production.
Two US senators, prompted by analysts, raised the alarm about a serious lag in battery production and research from China, which firmly controls the global supply chain.. They require an urgent focus on next-generation battery technologies.
As reported by Reuters, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, and the head of the Energy Committee, Joe Manchin, wrote a letter to the Department of Energy with arguments for increasing battery production in the United States.. They explicitly state that the US is “10 to 20 years behind and that America is behind Asia in commercializing battery technology.”
The argument is strong: China accounts for more than 75% of battery cell production. The Middle Kingdom dominates the global supply chain for electric vehicle batteries, controlling a significant portion of the minerals needed to produce them.
This fall, China announced export controls on graphite, a key component of next-generation batteries.. As a reminder, China is the world's leading producer of graphite, refining more than 90% of graphite into a material used for almost all anodes in electric vehicle batteries. This suggests that China holds the trump cards in the global battery game.
Production line of a lithium battery factory in Tangshan, northern China's Hebei Province. Photo: Xinhua/Yang Sheya
Last month, the European Union also launched an official investigation into the dominance of cheap Chinese electric vehicles.. This may result in import tariffs or other regulatory measures. And the US is already adding a 25% tariff for Chinese electric vehicles to the current 2.5% import duty on vehicles.
Global demand for lithium-ion batteries is expected to surge as the electric vehicle industry expands. At the same time, the required total capacity will increase from approximately 700 GWh in 2022 to approximately 4.7 TWh by 2030.
In their letter, the senators push for continued U.S. leadership in creating next-generation battery technology and alternative chemistry that is less reliant on Chinese minerals.