- As electric vehicle market grows, the demand increase is expected to continue|
In Q1 2018, the global demand for cathode materials, lithium, cobalt, and nickel for the production of electric vehicle batteries (EV, PHEV, HEV, passenger and commercial vehicle combined) surged by 40 ~ 80% from the same period last year. (Based on raw battery material shipments used in electric vehicles sold during the period)
This comes from the increasing sales of electric vehicles in Q1, mostly BEV and PHEV. The sales of BEV and PHEV came to 191,000 and 116,000 units, which correspond to 61.0% and 67.6% growth from the Q1 2017.
Among various raw materials, cobalt stood out with the highest growth rate of 80.2%. This could be attributed to the sharp sales increase of new Nissan Leaf (40kWh), BAIC EC180, and BYD Song DM.
Compared with cobalt, the demand for nickel showed a relatively weak growth (47.9%). As the sales of the Chinese commercial electric vehicles, which mostly use nickel-free LFB batteries, grew rapidly (3.5-fold), the shipments of LFB batteries rose from 8.9% to 14.1% from the same period last year. Instead, the share of lithium-ion batteries dropped from 83.9% to 81.2%. The changes in the market shares of each battery type might have influenced the demand for nickel.
Recently, the cathode material consumed per unit has risen every year, and the trend continued in Q1 2018.
The average raw material consumption per unit showed a rapid increase of 20~50% from the same period last year, and the consumption per unit in each electric vehicle segment has also risen. Again, the demand for cobalt recorded the highest growth rate.
As the sales growth of electric vehicles continues, the demand for battery raw materials is expected to follow the same track.