Nickel, cobalt price: Electric car sales are tanking, but metal use spikes

The global auto industry will produce 88.8 million cars and light trucks this year, an almost 6% drop from a year ago, according to researcher IHS Markit, quoted by Bloomberg News.

Electric cars have been a bright spot, but due to a cut in subsidies, China’s automobile manufacturing industry body recently said fewer new energy vehicles (NEVs as they are termed domestically which includes battery-powered and hybrid vehicles) could be sold this year than in 2018. China produces more than half the world’s electric cars and the drop compares to sales growth of more than 60% last year.

new report by Adamas Intelligence, which tracks the battery capacity of electric vehicles sold around the world, adds another pain point for the industry.

The global sales-weighted average passenger EV’s battery capacity, a metric that has risen sharply in recent years, increased by a mere 0.5% in October 2019 versus October 2018 as battery electric vehicles (BEVs) sales have continued to bear the brunt of the market’s slowdown since mid-year.

A bright spot for the mining industry, however, is the fact that the average nickel, cobalt and manganese use per EV battery continues to rise despite slowing EV sales and slowing average battery capacity growth, according to Adamas:

In October 2019, the average EV sold globally contained 22% more nickel, 19% more cobalt and 15% more manganese than the same month the year prior, helping suppliers offset the broader slowdown in EV sales and average battery capacity growth globally.

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