Biden awards $2.8 billion for projects to boost electric vehicle battery manufacturing

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U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks to highlight electric vehicle manufacturing in America, during a visit to the Detroit Auto Show, September 14, 2022.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The Biden administration on Wednesday said it will award $2.8 billion in grants for projects to expand U.S. manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles and domestic mineral production.

The grants, which are funded through the president’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, will enable manufacturing and processing companies in at least 12 states to extract and process more lithium, graphite, nickel and other battery materials.

The announcement is part of the administration’s broader push to transition the U.S. away from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles. The transportation sector represents about one-third of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions each year.

“Producing advanced batteries and components here at home will accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to meet the strong demand for electric vehicles, creating more good-paying jobs across the country,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

The projects will support developing enough lithium to supply about 2 million EVs per year, developing enough graphite to supply about 1.2 million EVs per year and producing enough nickel to supply about 400,000 EVs per year, according to the Energy Department.

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The projects will also install the country’s first large-scale commercial lithium electrolyte salt production facility in the U.S and develop an electrode binder facility that will supply 45% of the anticipated domestic demand for binders for EV batteries in 2030, the department said.

Earlier this year, Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to bolster U.S. production of minerals required to produce batteries for EVs and long-term energy storage, and to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign supply chains.

“Currently, virtually all lithium, graphite, battery-grade nickel, electrolyte salt, electrode binder and iron phosphate cathode material are produced abroad, and China controls the supply chains for many of these key inputs,” the White House said in a fact sheet.

The White House has set a goal for EVs to comprise half of all new vehicle sales by 2030 and has pledged to replace its federal fleet of 600,000 cars and trucks with electric power by 2035. The administration has also rolled out a plan to allocate $5 billion to states to fund EV chargers on national highways.

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