Commodities demand forces battery prices upwards
Ever-cheaper batteries over the past decade have made electric vehicles more price-competitive, but prices of battery materials have skyrocketed this year as EV demand jumps. Prices of lithium carbonate, used in cathodes, have doubled in the past year, according to research firm Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Prices for cobalt hydroxide, which boosts energy density and battery life, have risen more than 40 percent.
The pandemic has brought disruption, but the real problem is more fundamental, especially in lithium. “The oversupply that crashed prices from mid-2018 to mid-2020 caused multiple projects to be put on care and maintenance with other newer projects stalled,” says Scott Yarham, who leads battery-metals pricing at S&P Global Platts.
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence expects most battery raw-material markets to remain tight this decade, and the lithium market will fall into deficit in 2022.
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