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Are Batteries the Trade War China’s Already Won?

The U.S. risks the long-term viability of its auto industry and more.

The cross-section of an electric vehicle battery at the Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. headquarters in Ningde, China.
Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
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Come next summer, at a lithium-ion battery factory in Endicott, N.Y., thousands of rechargeable cells should start rolling off a production line. Run by Imperium3 New York LLC, a consortium of small companies, it will be the only new production facility of its type to open in 2021 in the U.S., delivering batteries to clients in defense, transportation, and other industries.

With an initial annual output of cells equal to 1 gigawatt-hour—enough to power about 19,000 electric vehicles at the current average pack size—the capacity at Endicott is a fraction of what global rivals will produce. China and Europe will respectively add about 40 and 19 times that volume next year, BlooombergNEF estimates.