I had a mind to call this Obama's trickle down theory of lithium economics, but I actually can't hate on a man that mentions EVs in almost every speech
However I take concern with the administrations approach to achieving the goal of "1 millions electric vehicles on the road by 2015."
Massive subsidies are given to battery makers and automakers to this end, but what are the effects of this? Battery plants around the country get ready to fill big orders; spending millions of taxpayers money building new factories. Yet these big orders haven't come in. For the most part, American lithium, is still almost impossible to get your hands on.
We all know that EVs need cheap batteries to be competitive against gasoline. The point of these subsides seems to be to enable battery makers to make. They aren't though. They are waiting for giant million dollar orders. While they wait hundreds of battery factories in China get better and better at producing cheap cells. By the time their is an actual free market demand for batteries, American factories won't be able to keep up with demand. I don't mean that as a good thing. I mean it as in they'll be over taxed, under experienced, and we'll be looking towards a country with ten years history of large scale lithium battery production.
But I digress. The trickle down theory of lithium is that we, the ev community, are waiting for American companies to use lithium batteries at economies of scale for them to be competitive in price against Chinese lithium batteries. A flood of cheap cells could jump start a EV revolution in small towns around the nation; instead we wait for affordable batteries to trickle down to us.