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September 15, 2021updated 28 Mar 2022 7:06am

Electric vehicle sales surge in 2021

Electric vehicle sales have surged, with growth in all three top auto markets: China, the US, and Europe

By Zachary Skidmore

Electric vehicle (EV) sales have surged, with growth in all three top auto markets: China, the US, and Europe. Sales increased by 160% in the first half of 2021 from a year earlier, to 2.6 million units, representing 26% of new sales in the global automotive market.

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  • The impact of the commodity price increase on the battery prices
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China remained the world’s top EV market, with 1.1 million vehicles sold in the first half, accounting for 12% of sales. In the US, EVs have been less popular. Only 250,000 units were sold, accounting for 3% of sales.

Analysis from IDTechEx has forecast that sales of electric vehicles are on track to surpass five million units this year – counting only passenger cars. “If they do, it will mean an astonishing growth rate of ~86% CAGR since 2011,” the report reads.

In this regard, the EV market is demonstrating its robust nature as, despite the disruption caused by Covid-19, the market was able to grow. Political inducements have supported this. For instance, in the US, President Joe Biden set out a $174m commitment to support electric vehicle uptake, from charging infrastructure to topping up the federal tax credit, and his proposed new target of reaching 50% electrification by 2030.

Market penetration, however, has been mostly confined to the China, North American, and European markets, with Japan, Asia Pacific, and the rest of the world significantly lagging in sales of EV.

Last year, Japanese cars accounted for less than 5% of battery-electric vehicles sold worldwide, according to EV-volumes.com. This is due to widespread scepticism of electric cars’ potential profitability and environmental superiority compared to hybrid vehicles. This reluctance could prove to be a poison chalice and lead the country’s automotive sector to suffer the same fate as the country’s consumer electronics firms, which have largely faded into irrelevance because of their failure to stay ahead of market trends.

There must be a more concerted effort in these markets to install the requisite infrastructure to allow for greater EV use.

Lithium prices jump

Another impact of this uptake has been a jump in lithium prices; spot prices for lithium carbonate in China have climbed 170% so far this year, to RMB142,000 ($22,000) a tonne, their highest since April 2018. Prices of spodumene, a source of lithium mainly mined in Australia, have climbed 144% this year, to $990 a tonne.

Demand for lithium is expected to jump 26.1%, or about 100,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent, to a total of 450,000 tonnes, flipping the market into a deficit of 10,000 tonnes, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

Lithium miner Albemarle projects global EV production to grow tenfold by 2030 and demand for lithium to grow at a compound annual rate of 30% through 2025. Its projections and revenue outlook even encouraged several analysts to bump up their price targets on the lithium stock on Monday. For example, UBS and BMO Capital Markets upped their targets to $290 a share each; Oppenheimer posted a price target of $296 per share; and Deutsche Bank sees Albemarle stock hitting $270 per share.

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Free Report
img

Battery energy storage will be the key to energy transition – find out how

The market for battery energy storage is estimated to grow to $10.84bn in 2026. The fall in battery technology prices and the increasing need for grid stability are just two reasons GlobalData have predicted for this growth, with the integration of renewable power holding significant sway over the power market. Over the last decade, various new digital and smart technologies have been integrated, with countries aggressively promoting the modernization of grids, enhancing the grids’ capability to meet present and future requirements. As part of the effort, batteries are being deployed for a wide range of uses. A few such uses include aiding smart grids, integrating renewables, and creating responsive electricity markets. Read this report for expert insights into:
  • Market size and growth
  • Key drivers and restraints
  • Regional trends
  • The impact of the commodity price increase on the battery prices
Get ahead of this growing market and win big by utilizing our report.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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