A CLOSER LOOK AT
CALIFORNIA'S COBALT ECONOMY
While rechargeable batteries have been around since Gaston Planté’s invention of a lead-acid system in 1859, this predominant battery chemistry over the next century restricted potential applications to those able to accommodate its lower energy density, high weight, and limited product life. Even so, improvements to Planté’s battery soon led to the creation of an electric car industry in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The limited ranges, low speeds, and cost restricted the appeal of these early models primarily to upper income households as an urban town car, and they were quickly replaced as advancements enabled mass production of affordable ICE vehicles appealing to a broader range of consumers and business applications.
Over the last 6 decades, commercialization of additional battery chemistries has led to a growing range of portable and mobility product lines, leading to lithium-ion that has enabled an expanding number of electric vehicle models and has the potential to support far more if costs continue to drop and energy capacities continue to rise as now forecast. The following discussion considers the value chain required to serve this evolving market.