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Potential Speed Bumps in Road to Calif.’s 2035 EV Target


California's plan to phase out sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 could usher in an electrification renaissance in the U.S. if policymakers and industry leaders can overcome supply-chain hurdles, plug gaps in electric-vehicle charging infrastructure and assuage consumer hesitancy.


But most EV battery-making minerals and materials are sourced from China. According to the International Energy Agency, China produces three-quarters of all lithium-ion batteries and is home to 70% of production capacity for cathodes and 85% of production capacity for anodes — key components of batteries. The IEA said that over half of lithium, cobalt and graphite processing and refining capacity is located in China.

"At present, the U.S. does not have significant activity in the mining or refining of rare earth metals needed for the production of EV batteries," Blank Rome LLP litigation attorney Robert C. Levicoff said.

"Consequently, the U.S. is forced to heavily rely on foreign sources to produce EV batteries," he added. "This reliance has been affected by COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, the politics and conflicts with China, etc. While the supply-chain disruptions due to COVID-19 will hopefully lessen as time passes, the unpredictability of global conflicts and disputes with authoritarian regimes provides additional challenges to the adoption of EV mandates."

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"Potential Speed Bumps in Road to Calif.’s 2035 EV Target," by Linda Chiem was published in Law360 on September 13, 2022.