The modern electric vehicle (“EV”) has gone from a fringe interest to a mainstay of the automotive industry, with EV’s expected to continue taking over a larger and larger market share. With numerous countries and provinces set to begin banning internal combustion engines (“ICE’s”) within the next decade, EV’s inevitably stand to take the market by storm. The electric vehicle is the definitive solution to automotive emissions and consumers are beginning to recognize that. While some fears and anxieties surrounding specific aspects of EV’s remain, general public support has continued to rise year over year.
With over 125 million EV’s expected to be on the road by 2050, the industry is set for a boom, which if it continues, will overtake the ICE market in a surprisingly short time period. Almost all major automotive manufacturers have begun embracing the coming change, with a plethora of electric vehicle options already on the market and even more slated for the coming years. While this is reflected predominantly in the mid-range price point, there have been huge strides made by both luxury brands and entry-level consumer options. With such a diverse range of known names and new players in the industry, there are numerous solutions for the average person and the electric vehicle can suit whatever level of luxury, affordability, or practicality that the consumer desires.
The variety of electric cars slated for production in the coming years has risen to an impressive level. From Honda’s E city car, Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, and Kia’s EV6 to the Mercedes-Benz EQA, Porsche Macan EV, and the second-generation Tesla Roadster, the selection of electric vehicles has never looked more appealing. This means that there’s no longer a single factor compelling someone to own an EV. The consumer can look forward to a diverse range between luxury and practicality with a complete spectrum in between. Whether it’s a $2 million imported super car or Toyota sedan, the choice is available to the consumer.
While the momentum of the EV is fascinating in and of itself, the big picture (and where Gratomic fits into that picture) is even more interesting. The modern lithium-ion battery, the quintessential technology driving EV’s forward, is predominantly graphite, with 20-30 times more graphite in each battery than lithium. All that graphite adds up quickly in the large battery banks of these vehicles, and your average EV requires approximately 50 kg of graphite. With graphite demand expected to skyrocket 500% by 2050, Gratomic stands to become a key player in the EV industry.
A common misunderstanding of EV’s stems from confusion regarding lithium-ion batteries and their reliability. Clearing up that confusion by outlining how a lithium-ion battery works can help consumers be more accurately aware of what the future holds and why EV’s are such an attractive option. It also tells us what graphite is used for in these batteries and why it’s such an essential component.
First, let’s cover how a lithium-ion battery actually works. Like any battery, a lithium-ion battery is composed of an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte. Unlike the acid-lead batteries standard in ICE vehicles, the lithium-ion battery uses a combination of lithium and carbon allowing for a much higher energy density battery with considerably less weight, allowing for significantly more charge/discharge cycles, longer charge and use times and longer overall battery life. While EV’s must be plugged in when not in use during winter to prevent battery damage, they are still incredibly versatile vehicles and any diminished performance experienced in cold weather temperatures is more than comparable to the multiple disadvantages ICE vehicles face during cold-weather months, meaning that EV’s don’t face any particular challenges that would be unknown to ICE owners who are considering the transition to an Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) or Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV). If there is any doubt of EV capabilities in cold weather conditions, just consider the fact that over 50% of new vehicles sold in Norway in 2020 were electric vehicles. If that’s not a testament to the electric vehicle’s operational capabilities in extreme cold weather conditions, I don’t know what is.
Another common concern surrounding EV’s is the lack of modern infrastructure; how can you charge a car when there’s nowhere to charge it, and how can you be expected to wait hours and hours for a car to charge while you wait at a charging station? Luckily, both of these issues are quickly becoming past challenges, as more and more quick charging stations continue to be built around the world, with international governments working together to provide support for the continued development of adequate infrastructure. As well as the infrastructure dilemma, charging times continue to become faster and faster, with certain companies such as Tesla able to fully supercharge a vehicle within the hour. While this may sound like a significant period of time, it is also worth noting that at home 110 volt charging solutions exist, meaning that the need for quick charging stations is less necessary than one may be pushed to think. Beyond that, the rapid development of battery technology used in EV’s has enabled the vehicles to travel farther than previous versions on a single charge, with some ranges well within 300-400 km. This means that a person can go days or weeks between full charges, equaling or surpassing mileage and refueling requirements for modern ICE vehicles.
Performance is a non-issue when it comes to electric vehicles. Due to the inherent nature of their designs, they can achieve higher top speeds, faster acceleration, and more torque and towing power than an ICE vehicle almost instantly. For example, the new EV version of the Ford F-150 will be able to deliver more torque and horsepower, higher speeds, faster acceleration and lower operation costs than its ICE equivalent. The F-150 is not a standout example either; this is true of practically all EV’s that have an ICE counterpart. If horsepower was something keeping you from transitioning to an EV, worry no more.
What does this mean for investors in the EV market and related industries? Well, with governments around the world working to bring EV’s to center stage, consumer concerns quickly transitioning to greener thinking and all major OEM’s diverting resources into development and production of electric vehicles, it certainly seems that the EV is here to stay. With significant growth expected over the coming decades, as covered previously in this piece, combined with expected unprecedented growth in the EV industry, there may never be a more pivotal time to take advantage of the investment opportunity offered within the EV supply chain.
Infographic from VisualCapitalist.com