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E-cars: Bolivia wants to produce lithium batteries

Sunday, August 13th, 2017 | Worlds

"White gold" In the salt lake of Uyuni, there has been a plant for the large industrial lithium carbonate extraction
                     (Photo: AP)
                  La Paz With four pilot projects, Bolivia wants to enter the future market of the lithium batteries required for electric cars – also with know-how from Thuringia. Bolivia has invested some $ 20 million in the pilot factories in a first phase, said the political director of the national lithium program, Juan Carlos Montenegro. President Evo Morales wants to build a large-scale battery in the salt lake of Uyuni, Reduce the build-up of lithium. This is expected to yield 30,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate per year – planned by the Thuringian company K-Utec. "We will build a large lithium industry, more than 800 million dollars are ready for it," President Morales told the German press agency in June. So far electric cars are coming. The best-selling electric car currently has a range of 250 kilometers. With a new battery generation, the 500-liter brand is soon to be broken. The compact electric car from VW is not a new development, but focuses on the architecture of the combustion. The range is 300 kilometers. The BMW i3 has just got a new battery. This increases the reach of the carbon flitter from 190 to 300 kilometers.Niemand sells more electric cars in Germany than the French. On the car salon the bestseller got a new battery. That's enough for 400 kilometers range. The Koreans are lagging behind with the Soul EV. The model is currently still reaching a range of 212 kilometers. With a range of 500 kilometers, the Opel Ampera-e is currently the undisputed number one in the small car segment. The Korean mid-size model scores with a new architecture, driving purely electrically 280 kilometers .The Model S remains unrivaled in terms of range. The upper class sedan drives up to 613 kilometers electric – but then costs more then 100,000 euros. The SUV from Tesla comes on a slightly poorer air resistance than the sedan. This reduces the maximum range to 542 kilometers. But this is still a fairly good value. Lithium is considered a raw material of the future. The "white gold" is used for batteries of electric cars, batteries of mobile phones and also in medical technology. Recently, the world market price for lithium exploded, reaching up to 13,000 dollars for the ton of lithium carbonate. So far Bolivia plays no role in the promotion, world market leader is Chile with reserves of 7.5 million tonnes. But Bolivia has even greater reserves, estimated to be more than nine million tons. In the salt lake of Uyuni, there has been a lithium pilot plant for a long time – the plant for large-scale lithium carbonate production and the factories for battery production are to be operated with international partners. A large industrial and raw material mining complex is currently being built in the salt lake of Uyuni on about 40 square kilometers. A plant for the production of potassium chloride, which is used for the fertilizer application, is to be put into operation at the beginning of 2018.

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