We need double the cobalt to meet electric car demand – but will ethical supply keep up?
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The supply of cobalt will need to more than double to meet demand from electric car makers, says the boss of Canadian cobalt play Cobalt 27.
The current supply of 100,000 to 120,000 tonnes per year will need to grow by two and a half times if electric vehicle sales reached a 25 per cent market share by 2025, Cobalt 27 chief Anthony Milewski told Bloomberg yesterday.
But the key issue was not merely supply — it was ethical supply.
Most cobalt production comes from the Democratic republic of the Congo — described by news agency Reuters last year as “a country racked by political instability, legal opacity and, at its darkest, child labor in its mines”.
Demand for cobalt could exceed “ethical supply” in the next five years, Mr Milewski said.
“I believe there’s going to be enough material; that’s not the problem,” he said.
“[But] for battery makers and car makers the real issue is — [can they] show consumers that the material they have is ethically sourced all the way back through the supply chain?”
Since 2011 four million electric vehicles have been sold since 2011 — 1 million of these have been sold in the last six months.
We’re at 4 million electric vehicles! It took:
~ 20 years to reach 1 million
18 months to reach 2 million
8 months to reach 3 million and
6 months to get to 4 million
Looking forward to see how fast we can get to 5 million! pic.twitter.com/3yk4PZhZ7K
— Christina Bu (@ChristinaBu_) September 2, 2018
Mr Milewski said he was unaware of any major car makers not building or planning electric vehicles.
Last week Daimler introduced the first model under its Mercedes Benz EQ electric car brand. The German car-maker is going all-in on electric, spending 500 million Euros ($806 million) on a second battery factory for its electric cars.
Now, Electrek reports that VW is now planning 100,000 electric cars per year by 2020 from its plant in Zwickwau, Germany.
Volkwagen E-mobility board member Thomas Ulbrichalso also said by the mid 2020s, the company would be converting the entire current plant “from 100 percent [gas] today to 100 percent electric cars”.
“Zwickau is, if you like, only the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
“Our mission is nothing less than the transformation of the Group-wide production network towards e-mobility.
“We speak about 16 locations worldwide – and that’s within just three years.”