The combination of President Joe Biden’s electric vehicle mandates and severe restrictions on using our mineral resources will likely place the U.S. in a position of even greater dependence on China’s battery production industry.
As part of the White House’s plans to promote “green” energy, President Joe Biden on August 5 announced his intention to use federal regulations to force 50 percent of new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030.
Biden said that the auto industry’s future is all-electric, including batteries, plug-in, fuel cell electric, and hybrid. “It’s electric, and there’s no turning back,” he stated.
What he didn’t add is that going electric under current conditions will cement America’s reliance on China for our basic transportation needs.
According to the New York Times, China manufactures up to 80% of the battery chemicals, cells, and anodes used worldwide. A former Tesla manager told the paper that China “controls the cards” in the battery materials supply chain.
While the U.S. has plentiful minerals like lithium and cobalt used in battery manufacturing, it lags far behind China in extraction and development. China is also far more advanced in mining the 17 “rare earth” minerals, some of which are vital to electric battery production.
America’s mineral dominance still exists but has been made untouchable by federal ownership of vast amounts of the nation’s land and stringent regulations affecting all private mining. Alaskan minerals alone could end America’s dependence on the Chinese in producing electric batteries.
Reuters reported earlier this year that the Biden administration was looking to other foreign producers such as Brazil and Canada to ease Chinese dependence rather than developing the resources within our borders.
China has been working on rare earth mineral mining for decades and has overtaken the U.S. as the world’s leading producer. Former Trump administration EPA official Steve Milloy said recently that the electric vehicle industry couldn’t function without Chinese supply, and “there is no plan to displace China” as the primary supplier.
Milloy also believed that American consumers would be much slower to embrace electric vehicles than Biden imagines, citing high prices and inefficiency issues.
Biden acknowledged that China is far ahead of the U.S. in mineral and battery production but said that “there’s no reason why we can’t reclaim that leadership.”