According to research by IDTechEx (2020), over the next 10 years adoption of electric traction motors in on-road vehicles will cause a significant increase in copper demand. The research, commissioned by the International Copper Association (ICA), shows that by 2030 more than 250,000 tonnes of copper will be used per year as part of the windings in electric traction motors in on-road electric vehicles.
The increase in copper demand follows the trajectory of the global car market, where pure battery-electric cars are predicted to experience the largest gain in market share at the expense of internal combustion engine and hybrid vehicles. By 2030 battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars will account for roughly 19 percent of the total market, which is predicted to skyrocket to 72 percent by 2040 amid a declining auto market set to peak in 2031, according to IDTechEx.
Dr Richard Collins, Principal Technology Analyst at IDTechEx, noted, “Our global research found a clear increase in demand for copper as global car markets progress along the road towards ever greater electrification. Copper intensity fluctuates between the various types of electric traction motors, and the vast majority use copper. Motors will, therefore, be a significant source of growth for the copper industry over the next decade.”
Even as the demand for various electric traction motors changes, copper will remain a vital commodity for the global automotive market for years to come.