Lithium hopeful Dakota Minerals’ acquisition of a tenement package in Portugal was in part driven by a surprising idea – chief executive David Frances believes Tesla Motors will not exist in a decade.
Mr Frances said when Dakota, a Perth-based lithium explorer, was weighing up where to make a project acquisition, it was not wooed by the demand prospects of North America, unlike many of the mining companies rushing to peg ground close to the US-based car manufacturer’s Nevada lithium ion battery “gigafactory”.
“The only thing I could see was lots of gas at $2 a gallon and lots of guys driving around in V8 monster trucks and it is hard to see these guys are going to drive Tesla’s,” he said. “There are probably niche markets but predominantly I don’t think the US is going to be the early adopter of electric vehicles.”
In Europe however Mr Frances says the population appeared to be driving the “paradigm shift” toward electric vehicles, solar and home energy storage systems with the German auto industry poised to take advantage of increasing local demand.
Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, announced in May it would spend €500 million on a new German lithium-ion battery factory and in July, said it had accelerated development of premium electric cars to rival Tesla.
There has also been persistent speculation Volkswagen plans to build a factory after it revealed a strategy to launch more than 30 new electric vehicles by 2025, sell two to three million a year from 2025 and “develop battery technology as a new competency”.
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