The outlook for nickel is one of deepening deficits, falling stocks and rising prices. The widely anticipated expansion in electric vehicle (EV) sales is likely to exacerbate this structural shortage because of the additional nickel units used in the batteries needed to power the EV fleet. But with the future market already short of nickel, the obvious question to ask is where is this all this nickel going to come from? In this insight we offer some answers to that question.
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.