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The Cobalt Rush: Here's how Apple wants to safeguard its future iPhone batteries

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Here's how Apple makes sure it will have enough cobalt for its future iPhone batteries
Amidst the popularity boom of electric vehicles, smartphone makers are starting to feel the heat coming from the increased demand for resources to manufacture lithium batteries, and some are being proactive towards this issue. 

Apple, for example, is currently in direct talks with miners of cobalt, one of the key lithium-ion battery ingredients, hoping to buy the material directly from them. This way, it will safeguard the supply of the not-so-rare metal and make sure that no shortage of the material creates a sudden price surge of cobalt once every car manufacturer starts going after Tesla and its car industry rivals. 

Apple is one of the largest global users of cobalt, but so far, it has let its battery-manufacturing contractors manage the supply of the metal.

Rumor has it Cupertino wants to secure a few several thousand metric tons of the metal for the next five years or so for its contractors. Currently, a metric ton sells for $80,000 or more.
On average, every smartphone battery uses roughly 8 grams of refined cobalt, whereas the much larger lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles can do with 8 kilograms or more, as much as a thousand phone batteries would otherwise use. 

With the growing demand for electric vehicles, one can easily see how this can quickly become a big issue for Apple that would send ripples upwards and probably affect the price of the final product.

Some other large corporations that are reportedly also hunting for multi-year cobalt supply deals are popular car makers BMW and Volkswagen, but Samsung - one of Apple's best frenemies - also seems to be in the race for cobalt. It's one of those races that you either join or lose.



source: Bloomberg

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