Data shows there is enough nickel and lithium to produce up to 14 million electric vehicles (EVs) globally in 2023, so Europe should secure more raw materials to shift away from oil faster, campaign group Transport and Environment (T&E) said on Tuesday.
In a study based on BloombergNEF data on global maximum volumes of EV battery-grade nickel and lithium, T&E said that in 2025 there would be enough to make 21 million EVs globally.
Excluding Russian nickel, T&E said there should be sufficient raw materials for 19 million EVs in 2025.
Global EV sales more than doubled to 4.2 million vehicles in 2021 from just over 2 million in 2020.
Automotive consultancy LMC has forecast global EV sales will hit 9 million in 2023 and 14.2 million in 2025.
Prices of EV battery materials have soared over the last year, with battery-grade nickel breaking fresh records after the invasion of Ukraine as Russia is a major nickel producer.
Some analysts have warned of short-term battery-supply bottlenecks as the auto industry rapidly accelerates production of zero-emission cars, which could then be followed by a glut as a plethora of mining and battery plant projects come online.
T&E said competition for lithium and nickel was fierce and noted both China and the United States had been working to ensure access to those raw materials.
Europe needs to follow suit and establish an agency to ensure the supply of “sustainably sourced critical metals”.
“While China and the U.S. are flexing their policy muscle to secure supplies of critical metals, European leaders are scouring the globe for more oil,” said T&E senior director Julia Poliscanova. “Now is the time to focus on sourcing the sustainable raw materials the continent needs for our energy independence and a green future.”
(By Nick Carey; Editing by Mark Potter)