SHANGHAI, Jul 29 (SMM) – Copper consumption is likely to receive a boost from the electrification of transportation, as electric vehicles require more copper than diesel or gasoline-powered ones, and as the construction of charging infrastructure drives the reconstruction of underground power lines.
An EV consumes about 55 kg of copper on average, two to three times of that for traditional diesel or gasoline vehicles. Data from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) showed that China produced 577,000 units of new energy sedans, sport utility vehicles and multipurpose vehicles in the first six months of the year, which consumed about 32,000 mt of copper.
About 100,000 of copper is expected to be used in EVs in China next year, with a year-over-year increase of 50% in production.
Bloomberg expects the globe to see 119-136 million of charging piles by 2030. It costs 25 kg of copper to build a direct-current fast charging pile, and 2 kg for a private charging pile.
Excluding the need for underground line reconstruction, construction of charging piles is estimated to consume close to 60,000 mt of copper in a year.
The rising 5G sector will also give a lift to copper consumption, with the construction of base stations and data centers and the production of electronic products all requiring copper.
China Mobile, one of the four companies who obtained 5G licences for commercial use, plans to build over 50,000 5G base stations across China in 2019, which requires 600 mt of copper, if it costs 12 kg to build a base station.
China is expected to need some 6 million base stations to build up a nationwide 5G network, which is estimated to consume 72,000 mt of copper.
Greater production of 5G-related devices, meanwhile, will grow demand for copper foil.
In the short term, however, the EV and 5G sectors are likely to limitedly bolster copper consumption.