Meeting global EV targets will be ‘extremely challenging’ owing to raw material shortages

31st March 2023

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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Chemicals company BASF global precious metal services senior VP Timothy Ingle told delegates attending the Platinum Group Metals Day, in Johannesburg, earlier this week, that it would be extremely challenging from a raw materials perspective to meet the expected global uptake of ten-million electric vehicles (EVs) this year and the goal of reaching 40-million EVs on the road by 2030.

Ingle pointed to challenges faced globally with securing base metal supply and, in particular, lithium and class one nickel.

He said that, overall, the different nuances present in various countries would dictate EV uptake rates – particularly in developing countries such as South Africa, Brazil or India, where insufficient infrastructure existed to support a wholesale EV transition.

“I would expect that internal combustion engines (ICEs) will continue to be prevalent in countries like these in the future,” he said.

Anecdotally, Ingle shared that Uber drivers in northern Europe were trending towards buying ICE vehicles again, given the extraordinarily high cost of electricity in the region, making it cheaper to refuel a car with petrol or diesel than to recharge it from the grid.

Umicore precious metals management senior VP Bernhard Fuchs agreed with Ingle’s sentiments, adding that, if the ICE era was reaching its end, it was only true for Europe.

“I don't see any other area in the world which is following that thought at all, and Europe is by far not where the most cars are bought. There's certainly a big future still for ICE cars in the world,” Fuchs said.

Volkswagen Group South Africa volume planning manager and product marketing head Gina Handley added that high living standards measure (LSM) groups were now moving increasingly towards solar as an alternative power source. Therefore, to charge an EV at home was expected to be more affordable than relying on the grid for those in that bracket.

“The journey to EVs is going to happen in South Africa, but it’s not happening at the rate we’ve seen in other international markets. We’ve also seen a lot of other international markets introduce quite stringent strategies towards introducing Evs, which in the South Africa context we haven’t done so yet.

“So we'll see EVs coming in but it will definitely be in the higher LSM groups,” Handley said, noting that EVs were not cheap – a problem in a country where affordable motoring was high in demand.

She said Volkswagen expected most households who can afford EVs to buy them as second cars used for short-range day-to-day commuting, while a regular ICE vehicle will be used for longer trips.

“For original-equipment manufacturers, it is very tough right now. They have to keep investing money for where ICE is right now and they have to also invest massively into battery EVs,” Fuchs added..

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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