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Metal Supply Will Not Keep Up With Demand For Electric Vehicles

Our Current Metal Supply Will Not Keep Up With Demand for Electric Vehicles!

Many people are intrigued by renewable energy, and many of them think that electric cars can resolve a number of large societal issues including climate change. In theory, renewable energy for automobiles sounds wonderful until you find out which metals are needed and where they can be sourced. According to industry leaders, electric vehicles will only be produced over the next decade. The Washington Post reports that General Motors has committed to cease producing gasoline-powered passenger cars, vans, and SUVs by 2035. Furthermore, governments are enacting bans on gasoline-powered vehicles in addition to automobile manufacturers. Will there be enough material supply to meet the demand?

Let’s consider first how fast electric vehicles are expected to be produced to meet zero-emissions regulations. If current mandates can be met We can expect that around 83% of all cars will be battery electric (BEV’s) by 2050, with hybrids making up about 11% of this mix if we can meet the growing demand and stick to the regulations set out in favor of electric cars. If mandates cannot be met; projected base case is expected to be 37% will be battery electric (BEV’s) by 2050, with hybrids making up about 41% of the mix.

EVs require critical minerals such as copper, lithium, nickel, manganese, cobalt, and graphite. In conventional cars, only two of these minerals are necessary, Copper and Manganese. In comparison to internal combustion vehicles, electric vehicles require six times as much critical minerals. It is clear from looking at lithium batteries, the most common component of electric vehicles, that there will be constraints. To meet the zero emission mandates by 2050, we will need a 65x expansion of the mining of LiB mining materials. Thus, it is likely that mining efforts will not yield enough lithium to meet the rapidly increasing demand. Nickel is also commonly used in batteries along with lithium when creating batteries for EVs. In implementing zero-emission mandates we see a similar trend where the demand grows far more than the supply. Minerals we need for production are in short supply across the board and it is unrealistic to expect us to meet the demand for them. In the coming years, electric vehicles will become more prevalent and a shortage of minerals will become critical.


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