IEA forecasts slower demand growth for EVs

  • : Battery materials
  • 24/04/23

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) will continue to grow in most major markets this year, but at a slower rate, according to the latest Global EV Outlook report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Global EV sales this year are set to top 17mn, more than a fifth of total global vehicle sales, but growth is expected to slow in major markets compared with 2023.

Almost 14mn new EVs were registered last year, up by 35pc compared with 2022, with almost 95pc of EV sales coming from China, Europe and the US.

China is expected to account for over half of global EV sales this year, down from a share of around 60pc in the past two years, with sales expected to grow by 25pc on the year in 2024, passing 10mn for the first time.

Sales in the US are expected to grow by 20pc on the year to almost 500,000, accounting for an estimated one of every nine new vehicles sold in the country.

Growth in Europe is expected to be the weakest of the three, predicted to rise by just 10pc to around 3.5mn units in 2024. The phase-out of EV subsidies in Germany and other countries is expected to weigh on demand, although EVs are still forecast to account for around a fifth of all vehicle sales in the EU.

Smaller markets such as Vietnam and Thailand are expected to grow by 15pc and 10pc, respectively, this year.

Under the IEA's stated policies scenario, EVs make up half of all car sales by 2035, reducing oil demand by over 10mn b/d, equivalent to the amount used for road transport in the US today.

Chinese exports are expected to rise this year, after more than 60pc of Chinese EVs sold in 2023 were lower in price than their internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalents. Purchase prices for ICE cars remained cheaper on average in the US and EU.

China's largest carmaker BYD hit record monthly export sales in March, as nationwide exports continued to grow, raising concerns from US and EU officials about whether their carmakers will be able to compete.

Charging point installations are also set to increase, after a 40pc rise in 2023 from a year earlier and with particularly strong growth for fast chargers. Charging networks will need to grow sixfold by 2035 to meet EV sales targets set by governments, according to the report.

The IEA also said that policy makers must make sure that the supply of electricity is secure, affordable and emissions-light, while ensuring that electricity demand does not outstrip grid capacity during the transition to EVs.


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24/05/17

Trade curbs spur Chinese battery firms to look overseas

Trade curbs spur Chinese battery firms to look overseas

Beijing, 17 May (Argus) — An increasing number of Chinese battery firms have accelerated their expansions outside China, to meet buoyant overseas demand and to tackle escalating geopolitical curbs. These curbs include the US' newly announced tariff hikes on China's electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries from 2024 or 2026, and the EU's potential punitive duties on battery EVs originating from China. The US' Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the EU's Critical Raw Material Act have also prompted many Chinese battery material producers to step up their overseas expansions. China's battery material manufacturer Hunan Zhongke Electric has unveiled a plan to invest no more than 5bn yuan ($692mn) to build a production plant for battery anode material in Morocco, in which some other Chinese firms have also invested in similar projects. The plant has a designed capacity of 100,000 t/yr and will be developed in two phases with 50,000 t/yr each. The firm aims to complete plant construction for each phase in 24 months. Zhongke is a major battery anode material producer in China with 210,000 t/yr of capacity as of the end of 2023. Its output of anode materials rose to 143,513t in 2023, up by 14pc from 125,460t a year earlier, driven by the country's rising EV sales. It aims to expand overseas sales in the coming years. Major Chinese copper producer Zhejiang Hailiang also outlined a plan to build a 25,000 t/yr production plant for copper foil used in lithium-ion batteries in Morocco. Construction will take 36 months. "The layout of the Morocco project can help us penetrate into the European and US markets as soon as possible as exports from Morocco are duty free to these markets," Hailiang said. "This will help us avoid any international trade barrier." Morocco is one of the main destinations for Chinese companies to invest in and build overseas battery component plants given its abundant resources for phosphate, a main chemical compound in a lithium iron phosphate battery, and its free trade agreement (FTA) with the US. It is also a major cobalt metal producing country outside China, with cobalt being a critical mineral used in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries. Major Chinese battery material producer EVE Energy is on track to develop a production project for energy storage batteries in Malaysia. It will establish a subsidiary EVE Energy Malaysia Energy Storage to develop this project to meet Malaysia's energy storage battery demand, although it has not disclosed the capacity, construction schedules and launch dates. The plant is the second phase of EVE's new energy products development in Malaysia. It in August 2023 started building a plant for cylindrical batteries mainly used in electric two-wheelers and electric tools in the southeast Asian country. The firm said the US' new tariff hikes will not affect its business because it had planned the Malaysia projects for consumer batteries and energy storage in advance, and these projects will support shipments to US consumers by 2026. New US tariff hikes US president Joe Biden's administration announced on 14 May that the tariff on lithium-ion EV batteries will immediately increase to 25pc, while the tariff on all other lithium-ion batteries is set to increase to 25pc in 2026, both from the current rate of 7.5pc. This is likely to trigger more Chinese battery companies to increase their overseas investments to avoid the tax, according to industry participants. The US' tariff hikes have drawn strong criticism from China. "Politicising and instrumenting economic and trade issues is typical political manipulation," said the country's ministry of commerce. "The Section 301 tariff hikes goes against President Biden's promise of 'not seeking to contain China's development' or 'not seeking to break the chain of decoupling from China'. The US should immediately correct its wrongful actions and cancel the tariffs. China will take 'resolute" measures to safeguard its own rights and interests'." Chinese battery firms' investments in Morocco Company Products Capacity Launch dates CNGR CAM precursors, LFP, black mass 120,000 t/yr, 60,000 t/yr, 30,000 t/yr 4Q, 2024 BTR CAM 50,000 t/yr N/A Hunan Zhongke Anode material 100,000 t/yr in 24 months Huayou Cobalt/LG LFP 50,000 t/yr in 2026 Huayou Cobalt/LG Lithium salts 52,000 t/yr N/A Sichuan Yahua/LG Lithium hydroxide N/A N/A Hailiang Li-ion battery copper foil 25,000 t/yr in 36 months Source: Company releases Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Hybrid vehicles spur Toyota’s record 2023-24 profit


24/05/09
24/05/09

Hybrid vehicles spur Toyota’s record 2023-24 profit

Tokyo, 9 May (Argus) — Japan's largest car producer Toyota reported a record profit for the 2023-24 fiscal year ending 31 March, partially because of strong sales of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). Toyota nearly doubled its profit for 2023-24 to ¥5.3 trillion ($34bn), its highest ever for a fiscal year. It sold 11mn vehicles globally, including its luxury brand Lexus, up by 7.3pc from a year earlier. The sharp rise in profit partly resulted from higher demand for HEVs that Toyota sold 3.6mn units of globally, up by 32.1pc from the previous year. North America was the leading market for its HEV sales, said the company's chief financial officer Yoichi Miyazaki, but a further breakdown was undisclosed. Firm demand for HEVs, for which Toyota has both technological and commercial advantages given its long history of development and experience, has largely been prompted by a global slowdown in battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales. HEVs consume significantly less battery materials compared with BEVs, as their battery size is normally 10pc of a BEV. Toyota is accelerating HEV production during 2024-25, as it plans to increase sales by 24.5pc from a year earlier to 4.5mn units. This accounts for 43pc of the company's total sales projection and is up by around 8 percentage points from a year earlier. The global slowdown in BEV sales could mean customers are being sceptical about the overstated view that BEVs are the only solution for decarbonisation, said Toyota's chief executive Koji Sato, adding that the infrastructure necessary for driving BEVs, including charging stations, has not yet adequately developed. But he was unclear on whether Toyota will slow its EV strategy that it announced last year to sell 1.5mn/yr of EVs by 2026 with 10 new models. The company plans to sell 171,000 BEVs during 2024-25, accounting for 1.6pc of its total sales projections. This is up by 46.2pc from a year earlier but the projection is based on "conservative estimations", according to Sato. By Yusuke Maekawa Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Arcadium witnesses firm January-March lithium demand


24/05/08
24/05/08

Arcadium witnesses firm January-March lithium demand

Singapore, 8 May (Argus) — US-based Arcadium Lithium said demand was "quite strong" during January-March despite the bearish tone at the start of the year, while acknowledging weaker short-term lithium demand compared with previous forecasts. "Market demand was actually quite strong and certainly not reflective of some of the ‘doomsday' scenarios," said Arcadium chief executive Paul Graves with its first-quarter results, citing still growing electric vehicle (EV) sales globally and in China. Arcadium is the merged entity of Australian lithium firm Allkem and US lithium producer Livent, which completed their merger earlier this year. Global EV sales during January-March were up by around 25pc to over 3mn units, according to the IEA, mainly driven by China. China's new energy vehicle production and sales for the quarter rose by 28pc and 32pc from a year earlier to 2.114mn and 2.089mn units respectively, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers data. Expectations for EV sales in China are even higher in the second quarter partly because of "new economic incentives", said Graves, likely referring to China's new automobile trade-in subsidies that has boosted the prices of some battery feedstock metals. Some industry analysts opted to lower their short-term demand forecasts to account for the higher recent sales mix of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), Graves said, as sales of battery EVs (BEVs) seem to be losing ground. But Graves countered this by stating that lower BEV sales, which he concedes are expected to be lower by on average 20pc globally in 2024 and 2025 compared with forecasts a year ago, will lead to lower lithium demand that will largely be made up by demand from PHEVs and non-automotive such as stationary energy storage. Arcadium predicts only around 5pc lower demand in terms of GWh in 2024 and 2025 compared with previous forecasts, with demand to remain unchanged or even slightly higher in 2026. Output boost Arcadium is still on track to raise its combined lithium carbonate and hydroxide delivered volumes by about 40pc to 50,000-54,000t lithium carbonate equivalent this year, with volume growth weighted towards the second half of the year. It sold during January-March 30,000 dry metric tonnes (dmt) of spodumene concentrate at $827/dmt on a 5.4pc grade basis and 9,300t of lithium hydroxide and carbonate at around $20,500/t. Contrary to the prevailing view that lithium hydroxide is trading at a discount compared with lithium carbonate, Graves said that is "absolutely not the case" in their portfolio but rather it is at a "significant premium to carbonate". The company has fully commissioned the first 10,000 t/yr expansion at its Fenix lithium carbonate facility in Argentina, which is producing at close to full capacity. Its Olaroz stage two expansion in Argentina, with a nameplate capacity of 25,000 t/yr technical-grade lithium carbonate, is producing at lower rates given a longer ramp-up period. Its lithium hydroxide facilities in US North Carolina's Bessemer and China's Zhejiang with a combined 20,000 t/yr of capacity are still undergoing qualification. Arcadium is planning to expand in Argentina and Canada and expects to add 95,000 t/yr of additional nameplate production capacity by the end of 2026, which will span across spodumene, lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide. By Joseph Ho Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Global battery installation growth slows in 1Q: SNE


24/05/07
24/05/07

Global battery installation growth slows in 1Q: SNE

Singapore, 7 May (Argus) — The growth of global electric vehicle (EV) battery installations during January-March this year has slowed with stuttering global EV demand, data from South Korean market intelligence firm SNE Research show. Global EV battery installations during the first quarter rose by around 22pc from a year earlier to 158.8GWh compared with 36pc growth for the same period last year. Most top battery manufacturers have experienced lower growth rate ( see table ), with Japan's Panasonic and South Korea's SK On installing fewer batteries compared with a year earlier. China's Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) and BYD continue to spearhead the growth, albeit also at a slower pace. Consumers' preference for battery EVs globally waned as plug-in hybrid EV and hybrid EVs growth gained momentum because of factors including continued high interest rates and a shortage of charging infrastructure, according to SNE. Samsung SDI earlier this year pinned its hopes on a gradual EV battery market recovery in this year's second half when it expected benefits from lower interest rates starting to be realised. Lower interest rates could spur consumers spending and business investment. But US Federal Reserve policymakers earlier this month signalled that they are likely to hold rates higher for longer until they are confident inflation is slowing "sustainably" towards the 2pc target. The higher interest rates and lower residual values of EVs given price cuts on new vehicles could push up EVs' monthly leasing terms, which are often financed, according to Dutch investment bank ING's senior economist Rico Luman and senior high yield credit strategist Oleksiy Soroka. The scaling back of subsidies in Germany will also weigh on EV uptakes, they said. The IEA has forecast that EV sales will continue to grow in most major markets this year but at a slower rate compared with 2023. Global EV sales this year are forecast to top 17mn, more than 20pc of total global vehicle sales. By Joseph Ho Global EV battery installations (GWh) Jan-Mar '24 Jan-Mar '23 1Q '24 y-o-y % ± 1Q '23 y-o-y % ± CATL 60.1 45.6 31.9% 32.9% BYD 22.7 20.3 11.9% 103% LGES 21.7 20.1 7.8% 43.6% Panasonic 9.3 10.6 -12.6% 21.8% Samsung SDI 8.4 6.2 36.3% 44.2% SK On 7.3 7.9 -8.2% 17.9% CALB 6.3 5.2 22.2% 26.8% EVE 3.6 2.3 54.7% 64.3% Guoxuan 3.4 2.7 22.1% 3.8% SVOLT 2.7 0.9 217.7% NA Others 13.4 8.4 59.2% NA Total 158.8 130.2 22% 35.8% Source: SNE Research 1. Calculated 1Q '23 growth rate using SNE Research adjusted figures 2. Used SNE Research 1Q '24 growth rate figures 3. Omitted 1Q '23 growth rate figure for "others" given SVOLT's likely in the list (making it an inaccurate comparison) Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Australia's WesCEF to pursue Li plans despite hurdles


24/05/03
24/05/03

Australia's WesCEF to pursue Li plans despite hurdles

Singapore, 3 May (Argus) — Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers will still pursue the strategy for its chemicals, energy and fertilisers arm (WesCEF) to be an integrated lithium producer, despite the recent lithium market downturn. Wesfarmers earlier this year warned of unprofitable lithium sales from its Mount Holland project , owing to high production costs as it goes through a ramp-up. But WesCEF plans to weather through the downturn and plow ahead with its lithium downstream developments, given strong long-term fundamentals and despite the market's immaturity and cyclical demand, according to the group's executives on 2 May. Spodumene prices in China — which dominates global consumption of lithium raw materials — were assessed at $1,080-1,180/t on 30 April, down sharply from $5,750-5,900/t at the start of 2023. "It's also worth remembering that when we invested in Covalent and took the final investment decision , lithium hydroxide prices were lower than they are today," said WesCEF's managing director Ian Hansen. Wesfarmers and Chilean lithium firm SQM jointly own Australian firm Covalent Lithium, which looks after the Mount Holland project that includes a mine, concentrator and its 50,000 t/yr Kwinana lithium hydroxide refinery. Completing the refinery's construction and commissioning remains WesCEF's priority, with the mine and concentrator going through a ramp-up, according to WesCEF. The firm is also progressing its potential expansion project for the mine and concentrator, which it submitted an application for environmental approvals. The first lithium hydroxide output out of the Kwinana refinery is still expected in the first half of 2025, with a delay in timeline. Covalent completed its first spodumene concentrate shipment earlier in March, said WesCEF. Wesfarmers expected its share of spodumene concentrate output from Mount Holland to be 50,000t in the current July 2023-June 2024 fiscal year. The share will rise to 150,000-190,000t in the upcoming July 2024-June 2025 fiscal year. Lithium downturn The lithium downturn has led to multiple firms, including major particpants across the lithium and battery supply chain, reporting poor January-March results. Australian lithium and nickel producer IGO, affected by slumps in the lithium and nickel markets, reported its first quarterly loss in years while posting lower output . Major US lithium producer Albemarle's executives have also called the market "unsustainable" in the long run, as it posts a whopping $1.1bn year-on-year fall in sales from its energy storage division. Major Chinese lithium producer Tianqi Lithium also suffered heavy losses, while global lithium firm Arcadium Lithium earlier this year cut its planned sales numbers this year and warned that current market prices will weigh on future supply. South Korea's top battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution (LGES) reported W157bn of operating profit in January-March , but would have reported an operating loss of W32bn if it did not receive almost W189bn in US Inflation Reduction Act tax credits. By Joseph Ho Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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