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Enhancing Efficacy of the Critical Minerals Supply Chain for EVs

Governments worldwide such as the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, and California have mandated the ban of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles sales in their jurisdictions, and the promising alternative is the electric vehicle (EV). The motivations behind this include tackling climate change and enhancing these technologies to reach price-parity sooner than with conventional market forces.

Nevertheless, though governments do have the political will to keep the transportation industry from selling new ICE vehicles and demand cleaner alternatives, the industry will struggle to provide enough of the supply. For the production of the Li-Ion batteries required of EVs, the critical minerals required far exceed what the industry is currently able to provide. This is not only an issue upstream in the supply chain, but it becomes a significant issue downstream. Whether it’s refining, cell production, or battery pack assembly, these components of the supply chain also cannot meet the current demands being imposed. When combined sequentially, this can lead to latencies, price volatilities, and loss of performance for the production.

In our work, we aim to study how to enhance the efficacy of the supply chain (both fundamentally and in the current setting today) and maintain resiliency to avoid any of the aforementioned unintended consequences. This involves studying previous case studies of issues in critical mineral supply chains, assessing current developments within the industry, and performing analysis and optimization to evaluate the performance of differing scenarios which could meet expected demands given rigorous constraints.