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Passenger EV battery capacity hits record in 2021, raising concerns over battery materials supply

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(Kitco News) - Adamas Intelligence reported today that following a towering fourth quarter, 2021 saw a record 286.2 GWh of passenger EV battery capacity deployed onto roads globally, a remarkable 113% increase over 2020 as EV sales, especially battery electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle sales, surged year-over-year.

By cell supplier, Chinese juggernaut Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) took the lead in 2021 with a record 87.8 GWh deployed onto roads globally (31% of the global total), a towering 204% increase over 2020 on the back of an ever-broadening book of supply agreements with Chinese, European and North American automakers, the consultancy said.

Further, South Korea’s LG Energy Solution claimed a second place with a record 63.5 GWh deployed onto roads globally (22% of the global total), up 72% over 2020 thanks in large part to Tesla in China, plus a handful of European and North American automakers.

Adamas added that Japan’s Panasonic rounded off the top three with a record 41.4 GWh deployed onto roads globally (14% of the global total), up 39% over 2020 on the back of roaring Tesla sales growth coupled with modest sales growth from Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Mazda and a couple of other EV makers that it supplies.

Collectively, CATL, LG Energy Solution and Panasonic claimed 67% of the global market in 2021 versus a combined 71% the year prior.

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Importantly, according to the report, in 2021, 21% of all passenger EV battery capacity deployed onto roads by CATL went into MIC Tesla Model 3s and Model Ys, making Tesla the cell supplier’s widest channel to market for the calendar year.

In 2021, Tesla alone was responsible for 23% of all passenger EV battery capacity deployed onto roads globally, down slightly from 26% in 2020, Adamas noted.

The global EV battery sector consumes a growing amount of mineral commodities, with lithium, nickel and cobalt being the key metals used to make EV batteries.

According to the International Energy Agency, at least 30 times as much lithium, nickel, cobalt and other key minerals may be required by the electric car industry by 2040 to meet global climate targets.

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