E-Mobility and the European Copper Market

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By Franco Gonzalez, Senior Technology Analyst, IDTechEx

The broader adoption of electric vehicles, and their charging infrastructure, will represent a boost for European copper material producers and European vehicle manufacturers.

Currently, Europe is the second largest producer of battery electric vehicles, and the second largest market for plug in electric vehicles (BEV and PHEV). Approximately 200,000 plug in electric vehicles have been sold and more than 80,000 vehicles produced in the region.

The European automotive industry is the backbone of the EU`s economy, providing 12.2 million jobs, €44.7 billion in research investment and a total turnover of €900 billion— around 6.5% of the EU`s GDP.

The International Copper Association—the leading authority on copper end-use—recently issued research findings that detail the increasing role copper plays in the development of electrified transportation and the integration of energy storage. The research was conducted by IDTechEx, examining the relationship between copper and the essential elements needed to advance the electro mobility industry.

There follows a summary of results presented at this year`s World Copper Conference in Chile.

Key Findings 
- Copper will have a critical impact in three key areas as electrified transportation grows: energy storage, charging infrastructure, and the production of electric vehicles. 
- Energy storage is the most copper-intensive component of electro mobility. 
- As the use of electric vehicles increases, a charging infrastructure utilising significant amounts of copper material will be required.

Total copper content by electric vehicle type: 
• Full electric bus: 224 kg to 369 kg of copper per vehicle.
• Hybrid electric bus: 89 kg of copper per vehicle.
• Pure electric vehicle: 83 kg of copper per vehicle.
• Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle: 60 kg of copper per vehicle.
• Hybrid electric vehicle: 39 kg of copper per vehicle.
•  Charging stations: 0.7 kg (3.3 kW) to 8 kg (200 kW) per charger. 

Energy storage is the component with largest copper content:
- Full electric buses can contain from 129 kg to 292 kg of copper in its battery, depending on battery size.
- Pure electric vehicles (no internal combustion engine) have a battery pack containing 40 kg of copper. This accounts for 48% of their total copper content.

To view the full World Copper Conference presentation, click here.

For enquiries on the above and other market intelligence matters, email colin.bennett@copperalliance.org.uk or bryony.samuel@copperalliance.org.uk.

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