Electric vehicles

Breaking down a flurry of reports on electric vehicle adoption

Demand is up, the climate benefits are real—if not enough—and raw material prices have skyrocketed.
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· 3 min read

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A flurry of new reports about EV adoption and climate efficacy were recently released. Let’s dive into the numbers.

An EV demand milestone: As we reported last week, EV demand is outstripping supply, and new research from Ernst and Young cited by Axios suggests that sky-high demand for electric vehicles is the new normal.

Among a group of 13,000 people across 18 countries, 52% of prospective vehicle buyers said they want their next car to be an EV. It’s the first time more than half of respondents to E&Y’s annual survey said they want an EV, Axios reports, and up from just 30% in 2020.

  • EV desirability varies dramatically country to country, however, with just 29% of US respondents saying so, compared to as high as 73% in Italy, or 69% in China.

Barrels of oil, be gone: Ever wonder how much oil EVs are actually helping avoid? BloombergNEF crunched the numbers in a new report, and found that in 2021, EVs helped avoid nearly 1.5 million barrels of oil per day, equivalent to 3.3% of total oil demand.

  • That’s more than double the oil avoidance from EVs in 2015, per BNEF.

Not enough gas: A recent report from InfluenceMap found that automakers need to significantly increase current EV production targets for the end of the decade in order for the world to be on track for a 1.5°C scenario.

Only two of the 12 companies analyzed—Tesla and Mercedes-Benz—currently have targets in line with the key threshold identified by the report: 57.5% of all global vehicle sales being zero-emission by 2030.

Critical condition for critical minerals: A new IEA report pulls together data on critical minerals like lithium, cobalt, nickel, aluminum, and copper.

The short of it? Prices have climbed at record-high rates, for the aforementioned minerals, all of which are critical to not only battery-making, but also other clean-energy tech like solar panels and wind turbines. Between January 2021 and March 2022, prices for…

  • Lithium jumped 738%.
  • Cobalt jumped 156%.
  • Nickel jumped 94%.
  • Aluminum jumped 76%.
  • Copper jumped 34%.

Addenda: EVs have now surpassed phones as the primary source of cobalt demand, accounting for 34% worldwide. And on the lithium front, investors are so eager to cash in on the unprecedented price surges that a controlling stake in a single lithium mine in China received…3,448 bids.

Bottom line: EV demand is surging, and the more we replace internal combustion vehicles with electric ones, the lower emissions from transportation will be. But the speed at which supply is able to catch up with that demand will depend on a range of factors, from critical mineral supply to permitting processes, to the ambition of auto execs.

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