EV Metal Index surges 64% as #Europe tops #China
Europe has now overtaken China – not long ago responsible for every other electric car sold worldwide – as the globe’s largest EV market.
The MINING.COM EV Metal Index, which tracks the value of battery metals in newly sold passenger EVs around the world surged 64% in June, after dropping to its lowest level since January 2018 in April.
The jump in raw material deployed in June lifted the value of battery raw materials tracked by the index in newly-sold EVs to $184 million for the month.
At $794 million year-to-date, the index is still more than 25% below 2019 levels although, as testament to the youth of the electric vehicle market, is almost double the value of the same period in 2017.
European carmakers favour higher energy density, longer-range NCM (nickel-cobalt-manganese) cathodes, which together with Tesla’s NCA (nickel-cobalt-aluminum) account for the vast majority of batteries in passenger EVs.
The continued adoption of nickel-rich cathode chemistries like NCM811 (which Tesla also uses in China for higher range models instead of NCA) also boosted raw material values per vehicle with the first half 2020 nickel sub-index surpassing the full year 2017 total.
The battery mix is likely to change this year, with LFP (lithium-iron-phosphate) units gaining market share, not least because Tesla has opted for this technology for its entry level Chinese Model 3s where range is less of a concern for motorists.
The proportion of NEVs sold in China installed with LFP batteries increased to just over 16% from January through July, an increase of 14% compared to the same period in 2019.
LFP batteries are significantly cheaper than NCM, but not likely to catch on outside China for light-duty vehicles, meaning market share growth should not come at the expense of cobalt, nickel and manganese demand.
When including the stationary energy storage market, LFP is likely to grow its share more rapidly with estimates of as high as 30% of the battery market by 2030, from 10% currently.