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The Electric Car Battery Boom Has Screeched to a Halt, For Now

Longer term, the technology still is on track to become more powerful, cheaper and ubiquitous.

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Three decades of advances took lithium-ion batteries from powering handheld Sony camcorders to propelling Tesla’s popular electric vehicles. The rapid rise is facing a major test in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Demand for rechargeable batteries will decline for the first time this year, as sales of electric cars—the biggest user—slump with novel coronavirus pummeling the auto industry, according to BloombergNEF forecasts. Battery shipments to carmakers are forecast to fall 14% in 2020, and the effects of the slowdown are seen lingering into next year.