Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.

Can Unlimited Batteries Be Produced?


Active Member
Mar 29, 2019
It’s a little ironic, isn’t it. The shift from petroleum to BEV is just a shift; the scarcity of the necessary minerals is still very real, BEVs just shift the “valuable” commodity from petroleum to cobalt, or nickel, lithium or whatever. These are still rare commodities that will be fought over. Instead of the Middle East, or Russia, or even the US with fracking being the coveted leaders with strategic access to the necessary commodities, it will become Congo, or Chile, or wherever . Granted, BEVs have the HUGE advantage of reducing greenhouse gasses which cannot be overstated, but the socio-political-economic drivers behind the industry (and money) are still there and will be there until energy can be produced cheaply without the need for scare commodities. Hydrogen anyone?
BEVs just shift the “valuable” commodity from petroleum to cobalt, or nickel, lithium or whatever.
I think you are mixing two different things. Energy production is shifting away from anything that emits carbon dioxide when burned to renewables and nuclear energy. Solar, wind, hydro-electricity and geothermal are available around the globe. Which renewable energy source is available and makes economic sense depends on where you are. Nuclear power today is based on Uranium as the fuel but alternative designs use Thorium which is widely available around the world. So, most countries can find an energy source that can reduce or eliminate dependency on energy from other nations.
With respect to batteries, lithium ion is the current favourite but other chemistries are possible. In the last century, lead acid batteries were the mainstream chemistry but portable electronic devices drove development of nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride and lithium ion. Batteries for electric grid storage are freed from power density and weight considerations so designs based on using the cheapest, most available elements are underway. If you are interested, check on work being done at MIT. I think energy storage technology has just scratched the surface so contemporary solutions may be displaced by new options as yet unannounced or undiscovered. What is scarce today may not even be needed in future energy storage systems.


Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
Resources available to make new lithium batteries are not considered to be a problem.
There was a run-up in cobalt prices a couple of years ago, but there was investment in new mining/refining (cobalt is a secondary metal) but cell manufacturers have also significantly reduced the amount of cobalt in new cells and prices have dropped again.

There are forecasts of a lag in battery supply, but just because the whole supply chain won't grow as fast as demand.

Recycling of batteries should be able to help, but we won't know for a while because recycling is lagging due to a lack of supply.

The key difference between an efficient, techology-based solution and a fuel-based solution is that the durability of the technology allows many more people to sit out pricing bubbles.
  • Informative
Reactions: Petrocelli
We, humanity, do not need "unlimited" amount of materials for batteries.
We just need 1 billion vehicles. When we have that, old vehicle parts, incl. battery, will be shredded and recycled.
New battery can be made out of old battery. It is pretty simple to visualize.

So the right question is "do we have resources to make 1 billion Battery Electric Vehicles within 50 years".

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.