(USA Features) President Joe Biden’s initiatives to fill U.S. highways with more electric vehicles will lead to a financial boon for China, which already dominates the globe in the production of advanced batteries as well as the mining of rare-earth minerals that are necessary to manufacture them.
The administration is working with Democrats in Congress to add at least $174 billion to the current infrastructure bill for “Made in America” electric vehicles. Some $40 billion of that money would be utilized to build 500,000 vehicle charging stations around the country.
“I’m proposing a plan for the nation that … will grow the economy, make us more competitive around the world, promote our national security interests, and put us in a position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years,” Biden recently said.
However, the Washington Times noted, rather than putting the Asian behemoth on notice, experts say the embrace of electric vehicles will actually empower China financially.
“At the moment, Beijing leads every other country in the production of electric vehicle batteries,” Dan Kish, a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, told the paper. “They control the resources and the technology that U.S. automakers will need to import in abundance to make electric cars a viable alternative” to combustion engines.
In 2019, China produced roughly 732 percent of the world’s lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, while the U.S. accounted for just 9 percent. Those are the batteries most often used to power electric vehicles.
But China’s dominance of the battery market comes from long-range planning and investment. The country is set to build at least 107 lithium-ion battery mega-factories by 2030, and approximately half — 53 — are already in operation.
By comparison, the U.S. is set to build nine mega-factories, while just three are currently operational, the Times reported.
Kish, an energy and environmental policy adviser to then-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told The Times that Biden was “jumping the gun on electric vehicles before having the capacity necessary to build and sustain them.”