Lest we steer ourselves into a another precarious situation like the current one with fossil fuels, perhaps it would be good to look at the issues with acquiring necessary raw materials, should the current domestic battery market expand by an order of magnitude.
Assuming many of the batteries manufactured still require cobalt, then increasing the demand of that material by 10x would almost certainly place peculiar political demands on the country that provides most of the world's cobalt: the Congo. To paraphrase a commenter on the original article, will we end up "bringing democracy" to the Congo as we just did in Iraq?
What about cadmium? NiCd Batteries already represent the majority
of the world's use of cadmium. It's a by-product of zinc manufacturing, and poisonous in high concentration. Following a trend already everpresent the local auto industry, more manufactured cadmium
comes from our neighbors to the North and South than from us, even tho we have the largest market of the 3 countries. To what extent would existing environmental problems with cadmium manufacture be exacerbated by the damand increasing 10x?
Finally there is nickel. The company that provides 20%
of the world's supply, Norilsk Nickel, also happens to reside in one of the world's most polluted areas
. How would both the local environmental damage, AND the US's relationship with Russia, be altered by a 10x increase our demand for nickel?