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Marina Schwarz

Evolving Battery Technology

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This is why it's very difficult to predict the growth of the demand for battery metals. It depends not only of the number of EV sales but also of the battery size and the percentage of each metal used in the battery. This will lead to an increased volatility in the price of battery metals in the coming years. We have seen a tremendous increase in cobalt and lithium prices followed last year by a steep fall, the ton of cobalt falling from 90'000 to 30'000 $.

The current predictions are based on the assumption that we will see an increase in battery size and a transition from the current NMC523 or NMC622 (the NMC111 is already outdated) to the NMC 811 with a higher nickel content and less cobalt.

But do we really all need EVs with huge batteries for an increased autonomy ? Beware of not transposing too quickly the needs of a US consumer to the whole world population. In the US or Canada they want a higher autonomy because they sometimes drive long distances. But in China for instance the need of an increased autonomy is less obvious as they use cars for commuting in the city from home to work and have an efficient high speed railways network for traveling longer distances.

The low cost and low autonomy Chinese EVs use mainly LFP (Lithium-Iron-Phosphate) batteries. It will be interesting to see in the coming months how the Chinese EV market is affected by the change in the subsidies policy favouring the EV's with higher autonomy. Are we going to see a shift from the LFP to the NMC batteries or will the LFP batteries resist and preserve or increase their market share ?


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