Raw materials are essential for maintaining the exponentially growing demand for Electric Vehicles. Certain raw materials used in EVs like Lithium and Cobalt are produced globally in relatively small quantities compared to the requirements for large scale production of EVs. This fact leads often to the (probably erroneous) conclusion that there will be a supply issue for these raw materials. Hence a key activity of Task 40 CRM4EV will be to evaluate the current supply and demand of Critical Raw Materials as well the potential increase in demand for the CRMs in scope, as this will be the main element for projecting scenarios that consider the change
Task 40 CRM4EV will evaluate the current supply chains for the CRMs and, through scenario studies, assess the possible ranges of future needs in time, up to 2050. For the increase of demand, analyses will be done on how this gap could be bridged – in time – in order to avoid delays in the transition to electric drive. Additional mining of CRMs is a likely outcome as will be in the future the recycling of the components containing the bulk of the CRMs.
Another key factor in potentially causing a supply issue is the concentration of mining and/or refining of certain CRMs in one or a few countries. China for example is the major producer of Rare Earth minerals and is controlling important parts of the supply chain of other CRMs.
From the demand side, Task 40 CRM4EV will evaluate the impact of future technologies on the demand “per unit” of required output at a vehicle level, kWh energy storage capacity for batteries or kW power for electro-motors for example. The demands for CRMs for these will reduce through technology improvements. But also, non-technological changes like how and how much cars are used will also impact the requirements of CRMs. Task 40 will evaluate the impacts of autonomous driving, shared car use and other developments on the need for CRMs.
Another approach to reduce the use of CRMs is to find and use alternative technological solutions.