This week we heard dramatic news that global motoring giant Porsche, the European powerhouse of sports cars, has thrown down the gauntlet to America’s electric vehicle darling Tesla Motors.

Who’s going to win?

And now we learn that the Chinese are the world’s biggest manufacturer of electric vehicles.

There’s some serious competition and some bloody fighting on the horizon, my friends.

Electric vehicle (EV) and battery tech is advancing faster than in any time in history. Worldwide there are over 1 million EVs on the roads today and this is rising fast.

Tesla prides itself on its top of the range EVs that supposedly give you 300 miles on a full charge.  But it’s the eye watering acceleration that has captured people’s imagination.  ‘Insane’ acceleration mode not enough for you?  Try ‘ludicrous’!

This in itself is a massive achievement.   All over the world people have fallen in love with the Tesla, and they are now punching out about 50,000 of these cars a year.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s boss, says he wants to get their Palo Alto plant up to half a million cars a year and he wants to build more Tesla car plants. China is in Musk’s sights for 2017.

Enter Porsche, the iconic sports car maker. The mammoth Porsche SE and Volkswagen AG tie up makes this group a motoring powerhouse with over €200 Billion a year in sales.

Porsche is to build a Tesla-rivalling Mission E four-seat electric car.  They claim a 0-60 mph time of less than 3.5 seconds, and a range of more than 310 miles from a single charge.

Not only that, but Porsche has announced a new 800-volt charging system which is twice as powerful as today’s quick-chargers. Its lithium-ion batteries can receive an 80 per cent boost in just 15 minutes.

There is little doubt that the Europeans have led the luxury car market for decades and they don’t intend to let America knock them off their perch any time soon. There’s no way the Germans are going to take this lying down!  They’ll throw whatever it takes to make sure they’re not outmanoeuvred by an American upstart.

Electric Vehicles – where is all the lithium going to come from?

EVs need lithium.  And lithium prices are soaring.  One global supplier has just put its prices up 15% and is predicting a 50% increase next year.

I see lithium demand surging in the coming years, with little sign of new production coming on line from the four major lithium producers.

Not only will EV’s suck up whatever lithium is currently being produced but their manufacturers will be competing with power utilities who have finally realised that energy storage makes their vast power grids that power our lives much more efficient.

General Electric and some of the big Asian battery manufacturers including LG Chem and Samsung are sucking lithium out of the market for their utility batteries.

Elon Musk has achieved what many in the global automotive space thought he wouldn’t. He is selling Teslas all over the world and his cars have one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings of a car ever.

The really smart thing that Musk is doing is reducing the cost of energy storage. His Gigafactories will usher in an era of cheaper, more reliable batteries.

Whatever the outcome of the electric vehicle tech race – and I’m watching Tesla, Porsche, and China, we all benefit from cheaper and more reliable energy storage.  In that sense we all win.

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Written by David Lenigas