Benchmark World Tour 2017 launches in Vancouver, lithium & cobalt high on agenda

The Benchmark World Tour 2017 launched in Vancouver on 21 April ahead of events in Toronto (24 April), Washington D.C. (26 April) and New York (28 April).

The free-to-attend seminars cap off what proved to be a busy start to the year in North America’s battery market, with battery producers, auto manufacturers and national laboratories alike laying ambitious foundations in the region’s race to catch up with Asian competitors.

Despite the new Trump administration’s apparent ambivalence towards topics of climate change, EV adoption continued to grow in the US with sales finishing Q1 2017 up over 80% led by strong sales from Tesla which delivered 25,000 cars over the 3 months alone.

This growth was underlined by the widespread race to increase electrified models from the country’s established OEMs – both General Motors and Ford emphasised the growing importance of their EV offerings at the 34th Annual International Battery Seminar in Fort Lauderdale in March.

Elsewhere, however, battery majors illustrated the uphill struggle North American companies will have in order to compete with the supply chain dominance of Asian competitors.

At the annual NAATBatt conference in Pheonix, Arizona, Bob Galyen – a U.S. battery expert now fronting up Chinese battery producer CATL – outlined fresh plans to increase the company’s production capacity to a massive 100 GWh by 2020; twice the expansion plans the company announced in December.

At almost 3 times the scale of Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory this was yet another example of the lengths China is going to in order to cement its place as the world’s leader in not just lithium-ion battery production but also raw material supply.

A central takeaway from both of North America’s leading battery conferences was the dependence the region still has on its Asian suppliers. For that to change significant investment will be required across the supply chain, to ensure an integrated and reliable production network.

While the region still lags behind, the race for battery supply chain security is well and truly underway in North America. Join Benchmark at our North America World Tour Seminars for exclusive insight into how the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Vancouver 2017: In pictures

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *