Battery metals see bigger gains in 2018 than EVs thanks to increasing battery capacity

In 2018, global deployment of nickel, graphite, copper, LCE, aluminum and cobalt by cell suppliers for passenger vehicles increased by 75% to 99% over the previous year, according to data from Adamas Intelligence’s EV Battery Capacity and Battery Metals Tracker.

These growth rates are particularly remarkable considering that global EV registrations increased by just 67% over the same period.

Nickel saw major gains in 2018 due to an ongoing shift by cell suppliers in China from LFP to NCM 523/622 cathodes, and outside China due to an ongoing evolution from NCM 111 to NCM 523/622, or from NCA 80-15-05 to higher-nickel varieties.

Other metals and materials, such as graphite, copper, LCE, aluminum and cobalt, saw growth above the EV baseline due in large part to a steady increase in average battery capacity per EV, which in turn is fueling greater metals usage per EV.

In August 2018, global combined EV and PHEV registrations exceeded hybrid registrations for the first time – a trend that has continued every month since. In December 2018, for the first time, EV registration alone exceeded the number of hybrids registered. Adamas expects EVs will continue to outpace hybrids throughout 2019 and beyond.

This trend is causing the sales-weighted average battery capacity of electrified vehicles to increase at an accelerated rate in all regions. At the global level, the sales-weighted average EV battery capacity has increased by a factor of 18 in nine years, from 1.4 kWh in January 2010 to 24.8 kWh in December 2018.

Adamas predicts that the ongoing increase in average battery capacity, coupled with strong growth in EV demand, will create an unprecedented surge of demand for battery metals and materials over the coming decade.

 

Source: Adamas Intelligence