Published on December 9th, 2019 | by Winter Wilson0
EV Boom — Roger & Zach Chat Lithium, EV Forecasts, Ford Mustang Mach-E
December 9th, 2019 by Winter Wilson
In our first ever episode of a new “EV Boom” podcast interview series, Zach Shahan sits down with Roger Atkins, founder of Electric Vehicles Outlook Ltd and self-described “jack of all trades, master of none,” to discuss Roger’s insights into lithium-ion batteries and the electric vehicle industry. You can listen to the full conversation in the embedded player below. Below that embedded SoundCloud player is a brief summary of the topics covered, but tune into the podcast to follow the full discussion.
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As Roger explained early in the podcast, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Have an issue that needs to be resolved? Creative people will come up with a solution. That is why electric vehicles have become a primary focus in the wake of increasing global challenges with city congestion and pollution, Roger said.
But while electric vehicles have proven to be promising solutions to these clear and immediate challenges, Roger worries about the lithium mining supply chain. He believes that due to a limited supply of automotive-grade lithium, the most electric vehicle share possible by 2025 would be only 7% of the global automotive market. This is what Roger picked up recently at a Benchmark Materials conference from a top lithium expert (“Lithium Joe,” who is reportedly the world’s leading authority on lithium supply), and it goes against Roger’s previous viewpoint on the topic. Even though there is currently an overflow in lithium, Roger explains that the future will prove difficult. It is not about whether or not we have lithium, he said — it is about whether that lithium is high enough quality for safe batteries.
Keeping in mind the challenge of lithium-ion batteries, Zach and Roger move on to discuss current industry players who are making big steps into the electric vehicle sector. They talk briefly about Ford’s investment in Rivian and Ford’s efforts to jump into the electric vehicle world through the Ford Electric Mach-E. But the foray into electric vehicles is no easy feat for established automotive companies. There is a huge challenge to profitability, Roger explains, as sunk costs and investment for research and development to transition into electric vehicles can combine to be crippling to a company. He believes, however, that working together with new electric vehicle companies, as Ford has done with Rivian, can give more established industry players a leg up.
Zach and Roger discuss how current politics and social media influence have driven the demand for climate action and, consequently, electric vehicle production. But Roger believes that looking beyond battery supply to other ways to maximize battery capacity is important. One critical piece of this dialogue, he said, is shifting from a linear economy to a circular one. He explains that the narrative should focus on maximizing efficiency and utilization. Roger proposes an increased use of carsharing, multimodal transportation development, and improvement of public transportation. Zach and Roger also briefly touch on automatic wireless charging in place of cable charging.
Roger expresses his desire to see strong leaders leverage the momentum behind the transition into electric vehicles to push exponential development of more efficient and sustainable transportation. His advice? “You better get on with it, because before too long you’ll be left with the people you won’t really want to dance with!”
To hear more on these topics, as well as hear Roger’s advice for how to be an innovative leader, listen to the show!
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