Forget the Oil Wars. We’re Now in an EV and Battery War.

What makes the rivalry among the U.S., China, and Europe so intense

Steve LeVine
The Mobilist

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A charging station for electric cars
Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket/Getty Images

For almost a century, oil has been the vortex of geopolitical tension and war — it’s largely why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Saddam Hussain invaded Kuwait, and China militarized the South China Sea. That oil has led to such pushiness isn’t surprising: It is both the core building block of the human-made world surrounding us and a primary source of personal and national power and wealth. Vladimir Putin’s power flows from Russia’s oil. A century and a half after John D. Rockefeller built the world’s first oil fortune, his descendants continue to live off the proceeds. Oil’s rule as the inextricable glue of human civilization is the primary reason it has been so hard for the world to take the necessary steps to undo the great harm to the climate.

Against that backdrop, it’s difficult to imagine any single substance replacing the commanding stature that oil has held, both good and bad. But looming large among the resources and technologies vying for such a place is the advanced battery and the electrified economy it will create. Gigantic new fortunes will be earned over the coming years and decades in the businesses of manufacturing superbatteries, creating electric vehicles, and mining the metals and minerals that…

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Steve LeVine
The Mobilist

Editor at Large, Medium, covering the turbulence all around us, electric vehicles, batteries, social trends. Writing The Mobilist. Ex-Axios, Quartz, WSJ, NYT.