Neodymium, in particular, is required for making the electric motor in hybrid cars, and every Toyota Prius you've ever seen contains 25 pounds of rare earth elements. iPods, Blackberries and countless other items also require these rare earth minerals.
Right now, China mines more than 95% of the rare earth minerals that are taken out of the ground. Let us repeat that: Ninety-five percent. While some might see the export limits as an act of aggression by China, an Australian rare metals expert told the UK's Telegraph, "This isn't about China holding the world to ransom. They are saying we need these resources to develop our own economy and achieve energy efficiency, so go find your own supplies." Does this mean BYD will one day have a big, big advantage?
[Source: Telegraph via China Car Times | Image: Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty]