After rivals such as Tesla were interrupted by Shanghai’s recent shutdown, China’s BYD is once again the world’s leading maker and marketer of electric cars (EVs).
According to reports, BYD is also working on plans to provide a longer-term edge over competitors, intending to get more actively involved in the mining of lithium, the basic ingredient required for EV batteries.
BYD agreed in March to invest up to 3 billion yuan ($449 million) in Chengxin Lithium Group Company, a supplier with projects and interests in China’s Sichuan region as well as Indonesia and Argentina. The automaker obtained a lithium extraction contract in Chile, the world’s second-largest lithium producer, in January.
According to a recent media report, BYD is reportedly speeding its goal by agreeing to purchase six mines in Africa capable of generating enough lithium for more than 27 million EVs. According to The Paper, a Chinese internet daily, it might be enough to fulfil BYD’s lithium requirement for the next ten years.
After a year of rising costs that forced several manufacturers, including BYD, to boost sticker prices, automakers are considering more engagement in their supply chains, including the mining and processing of critical battery metals.
One gauge of lithium prices increased by about 500 percent in a year, and metals are still high, despite early signs that the increases are slowing. According to sources, EV battery prices will rise this year for the first time in more than a decade, and broader inflation may postpone the point at which electric vehicles are as inexpensive as conventional vehicles.
To read our blog on “Tesla’s ‘Phantom Braking’ issue is worsening,” click here.