Mining tycoon Tolga Kumova says the electric car revolution hasn’t even begun to impact yet
“There’s all these analysts and commentators talking about the fact that it’s overdone,” Tolga Kumova said during a Q&A session at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne on Wednesday.
“Look outside — there’s no [electric vehicles], you haven’t seen any yet, they’re not here,” said Mr Kumova, who has investments in several ASX-listed battery metals stocks including European Cobalt (ASX:EUC) and Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR).
“Tesla this quarter made $320 million when everyone said it would never make a dollar … and [Tesla boss Elon Musk] is just ramping up and you can’t not pay attention.
“All the other companies cannot not pay attention to that. It’s not here yet and when it comes over the next year or two there’s going to be a lot of opportunity.”
When quizzed about whether he feels his portfolio is under threat over the emergence of new battery technologies that could eventually replace lithium, Mr Kumova shrugged, saying it’s a “long-winded process to change the technology”.
“They’re talking about taking cobalt out of the battery or going to solid state batteries — it took them 15 years from the time they discovered that putting cobalt in the battery stabilises it to actually putting it in products that you can use and put next to your head,” he said.
“All the testing, the drama, the headaches to go through this process, it’s just not that easy.”
Solid state batteries are tipped to be the successor to lithium-ion technologies, but they are still at least five years away, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
Solid state technology is harder to engineer — but promises a lower-cost battery that is higher capacity, higher density, higher performance and quicker to charge.
Benchmark senior analyst Andrew Miller doesn’t expect solid-state batteries to be a “significant part of the market until post-2025”.
Even John Goodenough, the man who helped invent the lithium-ion battery and at 95 is now working on a solid-state battery, said it is unlikely the new technology will available before 2035, Mr Kumova pointed out.
“So am I worried about my portfolio? Personally I don’t think people understand that the electric vehicle revolution hasn’t started,” Mr Kumova said.
Canaccord believes global electric vehicle sales will total 12 million units annually by 2025 — a global penetration rate of 14 per cent.
By comparison, about 2 million electric vehicles will be sold this year — double last year’s sales.