It has been about 15 years since electric vehicles (EVs) entered the mass market.
Tesla started shipping its Roadster model back in 2008, and by the end of 2012, it had sold 2,450 vehicles. These cars had a 200-mile range, which was a massive technological breakthrough at the time.
Roadster was a luxury vehicle with prices ranging from $109,000 to $128,500.
More affordable EVs entered the market a few years later, but their range was about twice as low.
It was a major hurdle for EV makers… Their cars didn’t have enough range, and chargers were few and far between.
New technologies helped EV makers increase driving range and reduce cost. Today, most entry-level EVs cost about as much as their gasoline-powered peers.
(On top of that, governments across the world provide subsidies and tax breaks for buyers and producers.)
It helped speed up the adoption of battery-powered vehicles. Now, most drivers have access to vehicles with a range of 200 miles or more.
However, these EVs are still not the perfect fit for long road trips. Even if you can map all the chargers along your route, it’s still inconvenient.
But this problem is about to go away for good…
Last week, the largest battery maker, CATL, released news that can change the EV landscape once and for all.
It announced a new bleeding-edge battery technology called “condensed state battery.”
The new battery has a higher energy density than any of its peers. The company claimed that it reached a density of 500 watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg).
Without getting too technical, we can say that the previous mega-battery pack with a driving range of 622 miles had 255 Wh/kg energy density.
A battery of this density could either increase a car’s driving range dramatically or deliver an average range from a much smaller and lighter package… thus reducing the EV’s weight and boosting its efficiency.
The only thing that has remained unknown is the price of the new batteries. The company didn’t disclose it yet.
What we do know, though, is that CATL also plans to use these batteries to power airplanes.
As the largest battery maker in the world, CATL is well-positioned to develop cutting-edge technology and bring it to the market.
It’s still early days for condensed state batteries, but we may finally forget about range anxiety once these are adopted.
Get Ready for Another Chip Shortage
Last week, the price of a little-known metal gained 17.5% over two days.
It was tin. The metal is primarily used in electronics, including semiconductor manufacturing.
The price started rising following the news of potential supply disruptions from the major tin producer—Myanmar.
The country stated that it will stop all tin mining activities in August.
The news shocked the market, leading to a quick rise in the metal’s price.
With a limited supply of metal, its price could remain high, driving up the input costs of most (if not all) electronic devices. Anything that has semiconductor parts may face production delays and rising prices.
This situation could end up being similar to what happened to cars during the COVID-19 pandemic when chip shortages led to a deficit of new vehicles—and soaring prices.
Be ready for potential supply chain distractions and another wave of chip shortages.
Thank you for your loyal readership,
The Financial Star team