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Growing EV Infrastructure to Drive Copper Demand – Wood Mackenzie

Metal News - Published on Tue, 13 Aug 2019

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Growing fears of a global economic slowdown continue to weigh on the copper demand, but Wood Mackenzie sees potential growth as demand grows for electrical vehicles. Henry Salsibury, research analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said “More than 20 million electric vehicle charging stations are expected to be deployed globally by 20230, consuming 250% more copper compared to 2019. As it stands, range anxiety, worrying that a battery will run out of power mid-journey, is a key psychological barrier standing in the way of more widespread EV adoption. One way to address this is to roll out more charging infrastructure. As this happens, more connections to the electrical grid will be required and more copper will be needed as the network expands.”

According to the research firm, coppers physical properties make it the best base metal to conduct electricity and accommodate the higher temperatures common in electric vehicles. While aluminium is the closest alternatives, aluminium cables need to have a cross-sectional area that is double the size of any copper equivalent to conduct the same amount of electricity, the company said.

Along with meeting growing infrastructure demand, Salsibury noted that electric vehicles consume about three times more copper than internal combustion engines. He said “The amount goes up as the size of the vehicle increases. For example, a fully electric bus uses between 11 and 16 times more copper than an ICE passenger vehicle - depending on the size of the battery and the actual bus.”

He said “By 2040, we predict that passenger EVs will consume more than 3.7 million tonne of copper every year. In comparison, passenger internal combustion engine vehicles will need just over 1 million tonne. If we look at cumulative demand, between now and 2040 passenger EVs will consume 35.4 million tonne of copper, around 5 million tonnes more than is required to meet current passenger ICE demand.”

The report comes as copper prices struggle to find momentum after falling to a two-year low at the start of the month. September high-grade copper prices last traded at $2.5815 a pound, down 0.29% on the day.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 13 Aug 2019
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