Regulations in China that plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and fully electric vehicles must make up 8% of all new vehicle production in the Asian juggernaut next year, rising to 10% in 2019 and 12% in 2021, will drive increasing demand for lithium, Alex Laugharne, principal consultant at CRU Group, tells The Northern Miner.
The New York-based analyst for the commodity markets research and consulting firm forecasts the stricter policies aimed at cleaning up the country’s excessive smog, will see China produce about 5 million fully electric vehicles (EVs) by 2025, up from a few hundred thousand today, and about 2.2 million plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), which have both combustion and electric engines. Globally, his figures total 7.2 million EVs and 2.5 million PHEVs by 2025.
China isn’t the only nation trying to wean its population off gasoline. Britain and France hope to ban fossil fuel powered cars by 2040, while Germany’s parliament has called for a ban by 2030, and India has committed to phase them out as early as 2020.
As a result, demand for lithium, and lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), the most widely traded of lithium products that goes into the cathodes of lithium ion batteries used in electric cars, will more than triple between now and 2025, Laugharne estimates, moving from about 229,000 tonnes LCE in 2017 to over 700,000 tonnes in 2025.
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