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There’s New Impetus in the U.S. To Get China Out of the Electric Vehicle Battery Supply Chain. It Won’t Be Easy.

File image of BYD workers assembling a new New Energy Vehicle at a factory in Huaian in eastern China's Jiangsu province. STR / AFP

The electric vehicle battery start-up SPARKZ announced this week that it will build a new 4.5-hectare factory in the rural U.S. state of West Virginia. The new facility will employ 350 workers, mostly former coal miners, in what will become a critical test for Washington’s desire to end the country’s dependence on Chinese vendors that control the global EV battery supply chain.

SPARKZ plans to build next-generation lithium-ion batteries that are more affordable and, more importantly, do not use cobalt. Chinese companies today dominate both the cobalt extraction sector, most of which comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the metal processing that’s done back in China.

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