Adamas Intelligence: all metals/materials but manganese for passenger vehicle battery cells see accelerated gains in 2018
In 2018, global deployment of nickel, graphite, copper, LCE, aluminum and cobalt by passenger vehicle cell suppliers increased by 75% to 99% versus the year prior, according to data from Adamas Intelligence’s “EV Battery Capacity and Battery Metals Tracker”.
These growth rates are particularly remarkable when considering that global BEV registrations increased by a lesser 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/materials, such as graphite, copper, LCE, aluminum and cobalt, saw growth above the BEV baseline due in large part to a steady increase in average battery capacity per BEV, which is in parallel fueling greater metals usage per BEV.
Adamas Intelligence had earlier observed that sales-weighted average EV battery capacity is steadily rising.
In August 2018, the number of BEVs and PHEVs registered globally (combined) exceeded the number of HEVs registered for the first time—a trend that has continued every month since. In December 2018, the number of BEVs registered globally (excluding PHEVs) exceeded the number of HEVs registered for the first time; Adamas expects BEVs will continue to exceed HEVs throughout 2019 and beyond.
With monthly BEV/PHEV registrations (and now monthly BEV registrations alone) exceeding HEV registrations month after month, the sales-weighted average battery capacity of all EVs combined is increasing at an accelerated rate in all regions.
At the global level, the sales-weighted average EV battery capacity has increased by a factor of 18x in nine years, from 1.4 kWh in January 2010 to 24.8 kWh in December 2018.
Looking ahead, the ongoing rapid increase of average battery capacity, coupled with explosive EV demand growth, is poised to create an unprecedented surge of demand for battery metals and materials over the coming decade.