THE WORLD’S AUTOMOTIVE industry is pivoting to electric vehicles at breakneck speed to meet new emissions requirements and rushing to establish the vast infrastructure from battery factories to charging networks, needed to sustain the growing market.

There is a fervor for electric-vehicle development. There is a shift away from gas-powered cars, and that has created a race to build and expand battery manufacturing. As more vehicles are sold, the demand for fast-charging stations will be critical.

The rush to be a dominant leader in electric-vehicle production has car makers like Faraday Future, Arrival Group and Fisker Inc. believing they can surpass the $10 billion revenue mark within three years of launching sales and production. This new paradigm is just one of many. It shows how fast the world is changing and adapting.

The demand for battery-powered vehicles is fueling this explosion. In Europe, governments are offering generous incentives for buyers. Companies are pouring money into research to reduce the cost of the batteries and building batteries that increase the range and performance that consumers will demand.

Companies with little revenue today project they will have revenue of at least $10 billion in just a few years. That’s almost unheard of. In comparison, it took Google eight years to reach $10 billion in sales, which was the fastest ever for a U.S. startup.

Uber Technologies took nine years to hit $10 billion in revenue, Facebook and Tesla reached that mark in 11 years, according to research firm Morningstar Inc. In today’s world, if you snooze, you lose. New millionaires and billionaires are being created almost overnight.

Consider the advertising industry. Google, Facebook and Amazon now collect more than half of all ad dollars spent in the United States. They are the big three of digital advertising, according to ad agency GroupM. This allows them to collect consumer data which they have parlayed into dominance and into even more success.



*  *  *

RARE EARTHS are crucial to many emerging technologies. Their magnetic properties make them indispensable for smartphones, wind turbines, electric vehicles, nuclear submarines and other products such as future high-tech TVs and computers.

Up until the 1980s, the United States was the world’s biggest producer of rare earth minerals and created the technology to process them, but today, the United States is scrambling to catch up. They are looking for allies like Canada, the European Union and Australia to help.

As recent as 2010, China’s share of the global production was 95%, but that domination has dropped a little and officials tell us rare earths are actually abundant across the globe, if environmental rules are relaxed when green tech needs are considered.

To meet the growing needs, countries such as Australia, Burma and the United States have ramped up mining and processing. Major investments also are underway on new recycling techniques. Rare earths are vital in the global economic battles and play a big part in the New Green Deal agenda.

The problem has been China has built a dominant position in many of the rare earth minerals because of an abundance of them and their lax environmental laws. China’s government also has subsidized their production and processing.

The United States has been forced to import 80% of its rare earth elements from China. For 14 of the 35 critical types of minerals, the United States has no domestic production. Engineers tell us developing a reliable supply of rare earth minerals is crucial as innovators look for ways to build smaller, faster components required for the future.