Copper industry expects EVs to spur ninefold rise in demand for copper by 2027

Big Oil may not be too happy with what’s going on, but Big Copper is all for it. A new report commissioned by the International Copper Association (ICA) finds that the growing market for EVs will significantly increase demand for copper over the next decade.

According to Copper Intensity in the Electrification of Transport and the Integration of Energy Storage, EVs use a substantial amount of copper in their batteries, and in the windings and rotors used in electric motors. A single car can have up to six kilometers of copper wiring. The metal is also required for busbars, used to connect modules and cells in battery packs, and in charging infrastructure.

Whereas an ICE vehicle requires up to 23 kg of copper, the report found that a hybrid vehicle uses 40 kg, a PHEV uses 60 kg, and a battery EV 83 kg. A battery-electric bus can use a whopping 224-369 kg of Cu, depending on the size of the battery. Solar photovoltaic systems also rely on considerable quantities of copper.

“Copper has the highest conductivity of any non-precious metal, and plays an important role in all energy production, but it is particularly important for future sustainable technology applications such as electric vehicles,” said Colin Bennett, Market Analysis and Outreach, ICA. “Copper is itself a sustainable material, as it is 100% recyclable without loss of properties.”

“The demand for electric vehicles is forecast to increase significantly over the next ten years,” said Franco Gonzalez, Senior Technology Analyst at IDTechEx, who co-authored the study. “Our research predicts this increase will raise copper demand for electric cars and buses from 185,000 tons in 2017 to 1.74 million tons in 2027. That’s a ninefold increase. On top of this, each electric vehicle charger will add 0.7 kg of copper and if they are fast chargers, they can add up to 8 kg of copper each.”


Source: International Copper Association

  • Eco Logical

    PYROLYTIC GRAPHITE is 100 times more conductive than Copper.
    Copper is used in motors due to it’s high conductivity.
    Apparently PYROLYTIC GRAPHITE is made by stacking multiple layers of GRAPHENE sheets together.
    Could PYROLYTIC GRAPHITE be made into flexible wire?
    If so, it’d make much more efficient and lighter motors!

    • dogphlap dogphlap

      That sounds interesting. I had not heard of that. If there are three elements we won’t run out of they would be carbon, aluminium and silicon, copper not so much.
      Do you know if it will conduct heat (I’m guessing it would) as well or better than copper, it could be the new wonder heat-sink material for the last half of the 21st century if it does.

      • Eco Logical

        According to Wikipedia, PYROLYTIC CARBON is anisotropic since it’s thermally conductive in the planar direction but not through the Graphene sheets i.e. the thickness.

        It is one of the few elements that will levitate above a high strength permanent magnet … just like a superconductor.

    • WQ @ CeeTech Inc.

      I believe so far it’s only good on small scale of current, like mA or a few amperes or so. When it comes to hundreds or even thousands amperes, graphite doesn’t hold a place at all. There’s still a lot of work to do, or maybe it will not work at all.

    • Vincent Wolf

      Or perhaps a hybrid material of copper and pyroltyic graphite to reduce weight, increase conductivity, enhance strength, etc.

  • brian_gilbert

    There is no sign that they will be able to stop human drivers crashing into driverless cars. So the alternative is to make all vehicles driverless.The best arrangement then will be to have the vehicles hired instead of owned by individuals. This would save alot of money, perhaps £400 billion for UK. The vehicles would be used more intensively but as their maintenance would be tightly controlled they would last a lot longer. Being hired less than a tenth the numner would be rwquired so the change in the demand for copper after the changeover might be negative.

    • Vincent Wolf

      Will never happen. Many of us will NEVER give up our freedom to drive anytime we want anywhere we want by ourselves. Over my dead body it will be mandated. Plus cars are just programs unable to think and weigh options during critical times before an impact. They can’t decide to take out themselves over a group of kids they will hit (pedestrians) by swerving. No thanks.

      • brian_gilbert

        True it may mever happen in your country as I expect it to be a democratic decision. You would be able to go anywhere you wantedby yourself just as tou do in a taxi but there would be no driver. The vehicles would be controlled by a central computer and run in road lanes the way trains run on railway lines. They would be as safe as trains if not safer. The USA would save $2Trillion a year so it would be tempting. We will see.

  • Food4Thought

    So…what are the top 3 copper plays? Rio Tinto?

    • Ben Feinberg

      Southern Copper (SCCO) or Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) if you want a pure play stock, though personally I’m diversifying with the ETF Global X Copper Miners (COPX).

      • Food4Thought

        Thanks Ben!

  • Rocinante Dante

    Copper is the original metal used in the United States of America penny 1 cent coin popularly given out in large quantities as change when purchasing items priced just under the next higher dollar increment as is a popular sales tactic for the integer-math prone or floating point math challenged alike. The coin was at one point so popular that the copper was eventually replaced with a less expensive material, used dried bubble gum, if I am not mistaken and please do correct me if Iam too far off the periodic table of this, but bubble gum or Bg using its atomic symbol, is of course a metal as are most of the elements, but the difference being that Bg is redily available on sidewalks and the underside of tables and desks, making it unique among the halides and consequently an ideal material for pennys. The replacement of Copper with Bg is of course well known, but less commonly understood is the related flattening of all other copper items due to their shared use of materials. So basically, what this all means is that eventually cars will also become flatter as their percentage of copper increases, leading of course to the invention of autonomous flying carpets. With bubble gum stuck on them.