Cobalt price rally lifts EV Metal Index to fresh record high

Model 46 Gentlemen’s Roadster built by Anderson Electric Car Co. Detroit Michigan 1914. Image by brewbooks (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The MINING.COM EV Metal Index, which tracks the value of battery metals in newly registered passenger EVs around the world, set a fresh monthly record in November and is already near the annual total for 2019.

Month on month price and deployment data (bar nickel) for the raw materials all improved in November, boosted by the overall increase in EV sales (including hybrids) during the month, 73% year over year and the relative outperformance of full electric cars and plug-in hybrids. 

Total battery capacity of EVs sold increased 117% year on year to nearly 17,000 MWh, according to Adamas Intelligence, which tracks demand for EV batteries by chemistry, cell supplier and capacity in over 90 countries.

According to the Toronto-based researcher, during the month lithium used in newly-sold EVs jumped 134% year over year, topping 10,000 tonnes for the first time. Deployment of cathode material cobalt doubled, while nickel use was up by 85% compared to the same month in 2019. 

Cobalt price rally lifts EV Metal Index to fresh record high

Tesla was number one in terms of battery capacity deployed, accounting for 1 out of every 5 MWh hitting roads during the month and also led in the deployment of lithium, nickel and cobalt, as its China-made models fitted with NCM cathodes (as opposed to NCA used in the US which uses less cobalt) experienced strong sales.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence price assessments showed month on month increases in prices of all four commodities making up the index, with cobalt now up 32% year to end November 2020.

The Benchmark cobalt index price exceeded $40,000 a tonne in November for the first time since February 2019 and continued to climb into the new year. That lifted the cobalt sub-index to a monthly record, despite the fact that prices are still 60% below levels seen early 2018.

Compared to the same month last year, the overall EV Metal Index has doubled to $332.9 million and at $2.1 billion year-to-date, is already within shouting distance of the full-year tally of 2019. 

Cobalt price rally lifts EV Metal Index to fresh record high
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