Study: Electric cars consume significantly fewer raw materials than combustion engines


The umbrella organization of European transport associations Transport & Environment (T&E) refers in a study published on Sunday to the weaknesses of the current road transport system, which is mainly based on vehicles with fossil combustion engines, around aspects such as environmental and climate protection, raw material supply and energy costs. Electromobility scores significantly better here.

During its lifetime, a conventional car burns an average of around 17,000 liters of petrol or 13,500 liters of diesel, according to the European umbrella organization of associations from the sustainable transport sector such as the Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD). If you lined up these oil barrels, they would make a 70 to 90 meter high tower. The metals that are used in battery cells for e-vehicles, on the other hand, weigh around 160 kilograms. If you take into account the recycling of the materials used, around 30 kilograms of metal are lost for an average battery, which is the size of a football.

Are not usable according to the analysis about 1.8 kilograms of lithium, 400 grams of cobalt and 1.4 kilograms of nickel. The weight of the gasoline or diesel fuel is about 300 to 400 times higher than the total amount of battery cell metals that are not recovered. The gap will continue to widen as advances in technology cut the amount of lithium needed to make an EV battery by half over the next decade. The amount of cobalt required is likely to decrease by more than three quarters and that of nickel by around a fifth.

The authors estimate that by 2035, more than a fifth of the lithium and 65 percent of the cobalt required for the production of a new car battery will come from recycling. The corresponding quotas proposed by the EU Commission significantly reduced the need for new materials for electric vehicles. Conventional cars couldn’t keep up.

According to the study, Europe will already produce enough batteries this year to supply its own market for e-mobility. For the next decade, 22 relevant giant factories with a total production capacity of 460 GWh are planned in 2025, which is enough to drive around eight million electric cars. This could also create around 100,000 new jobs.

The experts assume that Germany will become one of the most important centers of this growing industry in Europe. In this country, several locations for battery cell production are planned or under construction, including the Tesla factory in Brandenburg and the Volkswagen and Northvolt factory in Salzgitter. The German economy feared a raw material shortage for batteries in 2017. T&E does not see the availability of important metals as being restricted in the coming decades.


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