While a lot of research is being done on alternatives to lithium-ion batteries for safety and environmental purposes, right now the majority of our electronic gadgets are powered using lithium-ion batteries and it is a reality that’s hard to escape. This means that components need to build such batteries are constantly in demand.
This could also lead to potential shortages, especially in the face of greater demand, thanks to the rise in electric cars, but Apple has plans to try and keep themselves stocked. According to a report from Bloomberg, it appears that Apple could be looking to source cobalt, a key component needed for lithium-ion batteries, directly from the miners themselves.
This means that should the day come when demand for electric cars peak, Apple will not find themselves suddenly short on materials to build devices like the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, MacBook laptops, and so on. As it stands it has been estimated that a quarter of all cobalt production is used for smartphones, but that could change in the future.
Based on estimates, it seems cobalt used for electric cars and other lithium-ion battery applications will rise dramatically over the next few years. It is estimated that in 2017, 55.4K tons of cobalt was used, and this is expected to rise to 74.5K in 2020, doubling in 2025 to 159.9K tons, and in 2030 it is estimated that 324.3K tons of cobalt will be consumed.