Tesla consumes more lithium than four closest rivals combined

In the battery metals race, Tesla and Volkswagen have each found a way to overtake their competitors.

A recent report by Adamas Intelligence shows that the company led by Elon Musk deployed 18,700 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent onto roads globally in the batteries of its newly sold passenger EVs. This is more than its four closest rivals — BYD, Volkswagen, Renault, and Audi — combined.

According to Adamas, through the first three quarters of 2020, 100% of Tesla’s lithium consumption was in the form of lithium hydroxide. However, with the release of the made-in-China Model 3 Standard Range powered by LFP cells from CATL in the fourth quarter of 2020, this share dropped to 84%.

Overall, the market analyst’s data show that 67% of Tesla’s lithium consumption last year was driven by the Model 3, 17% by the Model Y, and the remaining 16% by the Model S and Model X, combined.

When looking at groups as opposed to just makers, Tesla consumed more lithium than the next two groups combined, namely Volkswagen and BYD.

By region, Adamas says that 47% of Tesla’s lithium consumption in 2020 rolled onto roads in the Americas, 34% in the Asia Pacific region, 19% in Europe, and less than 1% elsewhere.

A previous report by the Toronto-based firm showed that, in the cobalt space, it was Volkswagen Group leading the pack with nearly 3,000 tonnes of the blue metal deployed in the batteries of new VW, Audi, Porsche, and SEAT electric vehicles, as well as those manufactured with joint venture partners in China.

“In total, VW-brand EVs were responsible for 42% of the group’s cobalt deployment in 2020, followed by Audi with 35%, Porsche with 15%, and all others combined with 8%,” the report reads.

The German carmaker was followed by Tesla with more than 2,000 tonnes of cobalt deployed onto roads in the batteries of the new Model 3, Model Y, Model X, and Model S.

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