SHANGHAI, Mar 23 (SMM) – Demand for nonferrous metals will surge as new energy vehicles are booming in China, said Lei Hongjun, chief engineer of the Yangtse Automobile Group. This is because new energy cars will utilise more metals, especially copper and aluminium, than traditional cars, he explained.
Rising sales and output of electric cars is the biggest boost in demand for nonferrous metals. While steel accounts over 70% of the raw material in a traditional car, new energy cars will use less steel but more nonferrous metals such as copper, magnesium, as well as aluminium, which is to make cars lighter, Lei added.
Copper will be largely used in the generators and spare parts in the new energy car. A pure electric-powered bus would need 224-369 kg of copper, according to the size of the battery used. The demand for copper in electric cars and buses is expected to surge to 1.74 million mt by 2027 in China, nine times more than 185,000 mt in 2017.
The consumption of aluminium and magnesium will continue to grow as new energy cars are designed to be lighter. Tesla has made auto body completely by aluminium, setting a prototype in the market. The average usage for aluminium in each electric car stands at 105 kg in China, lower than the 140-150 kg in the western markets. China still has a long way to go in making cars lighter.
China is now the world’s largest market for new energy vehicles, with its production going up year on year. The output in 2017 stood at 794,000, up 53.8% from 2016, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Currently, 214,000 public charging stations have been built across China, up 51% year on year.
The production and the sales volume for new energy cars are planned to reach 2 million by 2020, with an average compound annual growth rate of 41%.
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