The U.S. Department of Energy is allocating $2.8 billion in grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support domestic battery production and mineral production, the White House announced on Wednesday. The Biden administration is also launching a new government-wide initiative to strengthen supply chains to support electric vehicle production.
It was President Biden’s latest move to support the transition from polluting gas-powered cars to zero-emission electric vehicles, with the goal of making 50 percent of all new cars sold electric by 2030. And it comes as automakers, mining officials and environmentalists have issued a warning about the US supply of key minerals needed to fuel the EV boom.
The DOE grants will go to 20 manufacturing and processing plants for projects in 12 states. According to the White House, these projects will support the production of enough lithium, graphite and nickel to supply millions of new batteries for electric vehicles each year.
The DOE grants will go to 20 manufacturing and processing plants for projects in 12 states
In addition, the money will be used to fund the construction of the first large-scale commercial lithium electrolyte salt production facility in the US. The DOE will also provide funding for an electrode bonding facility and create the first commercial household silicon oxide manufacturing facilities that will supply anode materials for an estimated 600,000 EV batteries per year. Finally, the DOE will fund the installation of the first lithium iron phosphate cathode facility in the US.
The White House is also launching an effort, called the American Battery Material Initiative, “to mobilize the entire government in securing a reliable and sustainable supply of critical minerals used for power, electricity and electric vehicles.”
The renewed effort will be crucial to support EV production in the US, which is still in its early stages. The Inflation Reduction Act, the Democrats’ new tax and climate bill, will spend nearly $400 billion over the next decade on clean energy initiatives, including tax cuts for electric vehicles and financing for companies that produce clean cars in the US. And California said it would ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles from 2035, a move more than a dozen other states are expected to follow.
But the only EVs eligible for the $7,500 credit are those made in North America using batteries with minerals dug out of the ground in the US or from trading partners. These requirements are largely considered nearly unachievable by many observers due to the automotive industry’s heavy reliance on battery materials and components from China.
The car industry has sounded the alarm about the inadequate situation at home. “The US has no significant throughput for EV battery materials and relies on other countries for refined raw materials, exposing the US market to the risk of being impacted by supply chains outside of US control,” the Alliance for Automotive Innovation said. represents nearly every old automaker in the US, wrote in response to a request for comment from the Department of the Interior.