Critics have raised concerns regarding lithium-ion battery production’s contribution to the total electric vehicle energy and emissions profile versus internal combustion vehicles, and about potential battery end-of-life issues. This detailed life cycle analysis (LCA) examines these issues and identifies potential hot-spots within the battery life cycle for five cathode materials and a proposed lithium metal anode. The battery assembly stage, identified by some as an energy concern, is determined to be problematic only for “pioneer” plants (i.e. low throughput facilities), but not for at-capacity plants, and battery electric vehicles with batteries from either facility type outperform conventional vehicles. For at-capacity plants, the battery materials dominate energy impacts, with cathode materials representing 10-50% of that energy, depending on cathode type. Recycling can further mitigate the life-cycle impacts, while also being economically attractive for all cathode materials, even those with low elemental values.