Senators Ask Biden to Invoke Defense Act to Boost U.S. EV Battery Production



An image of President Joe Biden at the State of the Union Address

U.S. Senators on Friday sent a bipartisan letter to President Joe Biden urging the head of state to invoke the Defense Production Act in an effort to increase domestic production of minerals used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries — reports Yahoo Finance.

“In order to address the threats to our national security, we respectfully request that you invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to accelerate domestic production of lithium-ion battery materials, in particular graphite, manganese, cobalt, nickel, and lithium,” reads a copy of the letter seen by Bloomberg. “Our dependence on foreign-sourced cobalt and lithium is elevated as the processing of both is dominated by China.”

China is the largest supplier of EV batteries and the rare-earth compounds needed to produce them in the world. Between 2017 and 2020, 78 China accounted for 78% of rare-earth compounds and metals imports to the U.S, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

EV uptake in the U.S. (and elsewhere) is already on the rise, and the Biden administration is on its own push towards electrification as well.

Last year, President Biden signed an executive order to make 50 percent of new car sales electric by 2030, and another to decree that the U.S. government will stop buying gas-powered vehicles for its various fleets by 2035.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has for long advocated the importance of sustainable metal extraction for use in his company’s EVs. At this time, the bulk of Tesla’s EV batteries is supplied by China’s CATL — the world’s largest EV battery maker.

As the world’s attention shifts towards EVs, minerals used in the batteries that power them continue to become increasingly valuable. Last month, Tesla signed a deal with Australia’s Liontown Resources to secure lithium supply.

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