Editorial

Will demand for metals increase with electric vehicle uptake?

We believe the call for metals will go beyond raw material for batteries.

As electric vehicles have grown in popularity, increasing attention has been placed on raw materials such as lithium, cobalt and nickel for batteries, but the story extends further.

Fully electric vehicles will require four times as much copper as internal combustion engine vehicles, and the infrastructure for charging them will see an increased demand for copper or aluminium cables. Also, as vehicles become lighter and more efficient, we're likely to see increased use of aluminium.

The dominant lithium-ion battery type for electric vehicles is expected to have a nickel chemistry. Sourcing this quantity of nickel will be a challenge as most of the incremental supply through to 2025 will be [either] ferronickel or nickel pig iron, both of which are unsuitable raw materials for nickel sulphate batteries.

Sean Mulshaw, Principal Analyst, as quoted in the Financial Times

As electric vehicles become more cost-competitive and efficient, we expect global adoption to accelerate rapidly. In response, mining operations will pick up, but consumers and regulatory authorities are likely to demand increased scrutiny. The most successful companies will be those that can prove they can provide the metals needed but with minimal environmental impact.

As part of our coverage on peak oil demand, we asked Paul Benjamin, Research Director of Global Copper Markets, to share his view on the outlook for metals demand and how decarbonisation trends will affect metals and mining industries.

 

Receive our LME whitepaper

At the recent London Metal Exchange forum, we addressed the uncertainties facing the global metals and mining industry. Complete the form to receive a copy of our related report that covers our latest thinking on the following topics:

  • Nickel, electric vehicles and the challenge of future supply
  • Copper: demand shifting back into focus
  • Aluminium: surplus, what surplus?
  • Zinc: the only way is up!
  • Lead: death by battery, or a spark of new life?
  • Iron ore: it might be slowing but it’s still growing!

You can also watch our webinar Lithium's role in a decarbonising world.