Traction batteries are the key to electric vehicles (EVs) and present very different material requirements to the combustion engines they help replace. Their meteoric rise will lead to much greater demand for several materials markets which otherwise would see only modest growth. For example, while the combustion engine and transmission relies heavily on aluminum and steel alloys, Li-ion batteries also require a great deal of nickel, cobalt, aluminum, lithium, copper, insulation, thermal interface materials, and much more at the cell- and pack-level.

IDTechEx has released a new spreadsheet-based tool that lists projections for several material intensities at a cell- and pack-level for battery-electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) batteries in the car market. It also provides a forecast for the multi-metal and other materials demand in tonnes from 2018-2031. In addition to these forecasts, this tool allows you to use your own forecasts for BEV and PHEV unit sales and battery capacities to see how these variables impact demand over the next 10 years. A scenarios tool is also included, which allows for several sales forecasts to be compared simultaneously for individual materials.

Examples for the material demand for battery cells and packs segmented by material. Source: IDTechEx – “Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs: Scenario Forecasting Tool 2021-2031

Material intensities throughout the tool are determined using extensive IDTechEx research which includes primary interviews with relevant players in the industry as well as IDTechEx analysis conducted by collating secondary sources. A comprehensive model database of over 240 BEV and PHEV models sold between 2015-2020 is used to determine trends such as battery capacity, cell and pack energy density, thermal management strategy, cell geometry market shares, and cell chemistry market share.

Example output chart from IDTechEx scenario tool using arbitrary forecasts for demonstration. Different EV unit sales forecasts can be compared for the effect on various material demands. Source: IDTechEx – “Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs: Scenario Forecasting Tool 2021-2031

Several components are considered in this tool. For the battery cells, the materials used in cathodes, anodes, electrolytes, separators, binders, and casings are forecast. For the battery pack, materials required for interconnects, enclosures, thermal management, thermal interface materials, inter-cell pads, and insulation and fire-retardant materials are forecast.

The materials that are covered and forecast in this tool are: aluminum (cell- and pack- level), carbon black, cell casings, carbon fiber reinforced polymer, cobalt, copper (cell- and pack-level), fire-retardants, glass fiber reinforced polymer, graphite (anodes), inter-cell materials (encapsulants, cushioning, module housings, etc.), iron, lithium, manganese, nickel, polyvinylidene difluoride binder, silicon anodes, steel, thermal management, and thermal interface materials. For more information around their projections, the technologies, trends, market analysis, and forecasting please see the report: “Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs 2021-2031”.