Europe’s electric vehicle boom continues apace with hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery EVs taking a combined 32.2% market share in the March quarter.

The global EV trailblazer saw first quarter new battery electric vehicle (BEVs) registrations increase by 59.1% on the same period last year.

While registrations were down on the December quarter, there is a seasonal effect on new vehicle purchase which makes year ago period comparisons more useful.

Registrations increased despite a second wave of COVID-19 infections and lockdown measures in the countries, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) said.

Meanwhile, diesel and gasoline-powered cars (ICE) saw a rapid loss of market share in the EU in the first quarter, down by 16.9% on the year to 1.1 million sales.

ICE’s share of the passenger car market has fallen to 42.2% from 52.3% in the same period of 2020.

Increasing demand for BEVs in Europe is expected to drive consumption of battery metals such as lithium and nickel along with chemicals such as cobalt and nickel sulphate in the coming years, Argus says.


The Megafactories are coming

The number of battery ‘gigafactories’ to feed Europe’s insatiable EV appetite is growing every month:

European battery megafactories. Pic: Talga

That image is from earlier in the year. In recent weeks, cell majors have committed to further capacity additions.

That includes VW, which announced plans for a total of six 40 GWh sites in Europe by 2040, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

“As such this saw the capacity pipeline in Benchmark’s Megafactory Assessment increase by 7.2% to over 3.4 TWh, the largest increase since September 2020,” the battery metals pricing agency says.

Furthermore, Europe wants a self-contained battery supply chain. That means locally sourced lithium, cobalt graphite, nickel … and everything else.

There’s a number of ASX battery metals stocks which will benefit.


Aussie battery metals stocks in Europe

Minnow Volt Resources (ASX:VRC) and more established players Talga (ASX:TLG) and Mineral Commodities (ASX:MRC) aspire to build integrated graphite mine and battery anode material production capacity in Europe.


Advanced lithium development stocks in Europe include European Lithium (ASX:EUR), Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL) and Infinity Lithium (ASX:INF) – although Spain-based Infinity is currently embroiled in some potentially nasty jurisdictional issues.


And then there’s Conico (ASX:CNJ) and Alicanto Minerals (ASX:AQI) hunting for big copper deposits in Greenland and Sweden, respectively.