Copper demand and the future of electric vehicles

Written by Sara Rowswell     December 18 2018 at 1:30 PM

Copper has an important role to play in creating a more sustainable and energy efficient future. As a key component of the growing market for electric vehicles (EVs), experts predict copper demand to grow.

Copper is a base metal, valued for its outstanding ability to efficiently conduct electricity. It is used in the charging stations needed for electric vehicles and in engines and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power them. It is found in batteries, windings and copper rotors used in electric motors, wiring, busbars and charging infrastructure.

The ‘red metal’ is also used in storage, transmission and to increase the efficiency of numerous electrical technologies – from motors and transformers to solar and wind energy systems.

Today, less than 1% of the world’s vehicles are electric and research from industry analysts, Wood Mackenzie, suggests that EVs will account for 34% of global passenger vehicle sales by 2035.  The growth to date has largely been supported by changing attitudes and government subsidies.

China has had the most recent surge in EV sales, following a program of government initiatives to support the industry. The Wood Mackenzie research suggests that the EV market is expected to continue to develop through sustained growth in the European, United States and developed Asian markets over the next decade.

For more information on the Wood Mackenzie report into “Copper opportunities in low carbon megatrends” read the presentation here.

As technological advancement and the global trend of decarbonisation accelerates, there will be growing demand for base metals. With strong efficiency benefits and diverse applications, copper is widely regarded as having amongst the best long-term supply-demand fundamentals.

To read more on MMG’s copper operations around the world visit

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