Are hybrid vehicles the way of the future for our automobiles or are they going to be too expensive for automakers to continue to produce due to the shortage of lithium?
Friday, February 20, 2009
Lithium in Bolivia
For at least 5 years auto makers have been producing hybrid vehicles due to the recent rise in gas prices. The rise in gas prices have made hybrid vehicles economically viable, but recent conflict in Bolivia, "the Saudi Arabia of lithium" (Quisbert), may cause hybrid prices to rise. A recent article in the New York Times titled "In Bolivia, Untapped Bounty Meets Nationalism", talks about the growing need for lithium, a vital mineral needed for powering the hybrid vehicles. According to NY Times almost half of the worlds lithium reserve is located in Bolivia. What is this going to do for the US's push for foreign oil independence when we now have to rely on foreign lithium? Bolivia's government is closely regulating the lithium export and "keeping foreigners at bay" (NY Times). Japanese and European automakers are also pressuring Bolivia for their lithium, which is more competition for US automakers.