Nouveau Monde was in Toronto on Sept 26, 2016 to take part in Advanced Battery Technologies and Metals Day. These are our takeaway.
Chris Berry, Founder of House Mountain Partners (www.discoveryinvesting.com) was the moderator of the day. Chris focuses on how disruptive trends in energy, strategic metals, and technology create opportunities. He has a specific focus on Energy Metals such as graphite.
Gianni Kovacevic (http://kovacevic.com) provided the keynote address, setting the context for why battery metals and energy storage is so important.
There were other presenters and panelists such as Jack Lifton, Senior Editor at Investor Intel (https://investorintel.com/author/jack-lifton) and Dirk Spiers, President of Spiers New Technology.
A few panelists believe analysts are under estimating the EV demand. Gianni Kovacevic is predicting the yearly worldwide demand to be 10M by 2020 while Chris Berry believes it will be 8M.
As part of the settlement with the US Department of Justice, Volkswagen will invest $2B in non-proprietary charging infrastructures over 10 years. California alone is to get $800M, a $200M lump sum every 2 and half years.
China is leading the way in EV adoption and is also the biggest automobile market in the world with 26M vehicles to be sold in 2016. There is a huge potential in this country with a government target of having 5M EVs on the road by 2020.
Panelists agree that battery technology is evolving slowly. It’s unlikely that there will be a breakthrough in technology for the foreseeable future whereas either lithium or graphite would be replaced.
Jack Lifton sees an upcoming crisis in the supply chain of key raw materials. He thus believes that recycling is inevitable in order to be able to meet the expected production level of EVs. Dirk Spiers agrees with this view and also sees the bus market to be a very quick adopter of battery technology. He predicts that all-electric buses will be used for public transportation within 10 years. He mentioned that he sees this happening already in managed fleet of vehicles. For example, the largest fleet of taxis at Amsterdam airport is all Teslas.
Several panelists said they believe EV sales are decoupled from the gas price. The proof is that in spite of historical low gas prices, sales of EVs are significantly up in Asia, Europe and North America.