President Joe Biden is building on his electric vehicle goal with a $3 billion investment Monday aimed at boosting the US supply of lithium ion batteries through the bipartisan infrastructure package.
The move is aimed at fighting climate change, but also to make the US more energy independent and secure, officials said, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global oil markets.
“To help make electric vehicles work, we need also to increase the production of lithium ion batteries and we need responsible and sustainable domestic sourcing of the critical materials used to make lithium ion batteries such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite,” infrastructure implementation coordinator and senior Biden adviser Mitch Landrieu told reporters.
Landrieu added, “The bipartisan infrastructure law directs more than $7 billion to strengthen the US battery supply chain that will help us avoid disruptions, lower the cost and accelerate battery production in America to meet this demand. So today, the Department of Energy is announcing $3.16 billion to support battery manufacturing, processing, and recycling funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law.”
Biden previously set a goal of having electric vehicles make up over half of all vehicle sales by 2030. The infrastructure law also includes $7.5 billion for electric vehicle chargers, $5 billion for electric transit buses, $5 billion for clean and electric school buses.
The funding will help secure the battery supply chain and build capacity, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said, and will also improve US competition. But it also has national security implications amid the broader challenges of energy security and independence brought to light during the war in Ukraine over the past two months.
“We’ve seen even in just recent days, (President Vladimir) Putin trying to use Russia’s energy supply as a weapon against other nations. And that underscores why it’s so important that we in the United States re-invest and re-underwrite our own energy security and building a reliable end-to-end supply chain for batteries and storage and electric vehicle production is among the most important things that we can do to secure that long-term energy security, which ultimately must involve security to a clean energy economy,” Deese said.
It will help underwrite private investment and “seed dozens of companies across the United States to build capacity in a way that we have not done in decades,” Deese said.
The $3 billion will go toward producing and recycling critical minerals, without new extraction on mining or sourcing materials for domestic manufacturing.
“We will ensure that the United States is not just a world leader in making batteries, but in innovating the advanced battery technologies that we need in the future, in securing the supply chain so we can be less vulnerable to global supply disruptions, and making this industry sustainable by recycling materials and using cleaner manufacturing processes,” climate adviser Gina McCarthy said.
The funding will be distributed through federal grants and officials expect to fund up to 30 grants following technical and commercial reviews and evaluation, officials said.