Demand for electric vehicles is set to double by 2022, according to a report released by market analysis group – GlobalData. The report revealed predictions for lithium demand to increase from 27,000 tonnes in 2018 up to 58,000 tonnes in 2022.
The main demand for electric vehicles is expected to come from China, with the nation’s sales of electric vehicles currently exceeding more than half of all electric vehicle sales globally last year. In the period leading up to 2022, the Chinese population and economy is also anticipated to grow at rates much greater than the United States and Europe.
The automotive industry in China has been the largest globally since 2008, with annual automobile production exceeding that of the European Union, United States and Japan combined. China has already put tough rules in place, announcing that automakers that want to manufacture fossil fuel-powered cars first must produce low-emission and zero-emission cars to attain a new energy vehicle score. The new rule applies to companies that make or import more than 30,000 fossil fuel cars annually. This means that by 2019, car makers must be producing a fleet with a total of 10% or more electric vehicles, and 12% or more by 2020.
Europe is also following China’s lead, with many nations such as France, Norway, Ireland and the UK investing in their own plans to eliminate fossil fuel vehicles.
“Several national governments are encouraging the adaption of EVs by providing various tax incentives and subsidies to the manufacturers and end users,” said GlobalData senior mining analyst Vinneth Bajaja.
“Additionally, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have led to much technological advancement in EVs and made them a viable and safe alternative to traditional vehicles.”
Australia and Chile are expected to lead the lithium production effort, with the two nations producing more than half of the world’s current lithium. Western Australia has already seen significant investment due to its large and high quality deposits of hard rock spodumene. Hard rock spodumene is currently the preference for battery manufacturers as it is capable of producing very high grade material as compared to the brine lithium produced in South America.