EV sales have exploded, increasing in all three major car markets: China, the United States, and Europe. In the first part of 2021, sales climbed by 160 percent to 2.6 million vehicles year over year, accounting for 26 percent of new vehicle sales worldwide. With 1.1 million electric vehicles delivered in the first half, China remained the world’s largest EV market, accounting for 12 percent of global sales. Electric vehicles have been less popular in the United States. Under 250,000 units were sold, making up only 3% of total sales.
According to IDTechEx, sales of electric cars are on course to reach 5 million units this year, if only passenger cars are counted. “If they do, it is going to signify an incredible 86 percent CAGR since 2011,” according to the research. The EV market is exhibiting its resilience in this area since it was able to grow despite the interruption caused by Covid-19. This has been aided by political incentives. In the United States, for example, President Joe Biden announced a $174 million investment to encourage electric car adoption, from charging infrastructure to boosting the federal tax credit, as well as his proposed new objective of 50% electrification by 2030.
However, market penetration has been largely limited to China, North America, and Europe, with Asia Pacific, Japan, and the rest of the world falling behind in EV sales.
According to EV-volumes.com, Japanese cars accounted for fewer than 5% of all battery-electric vehicles worldwide sales last year. This is owing to widespread skepticism about the viability and environmental superiority of electric vehicles over hybrids. This hesitancy might be a poison chalice, causing the country’s automotive sector to follow in the footsteps of the country’s consumer electronics companies, which have mostly faded into obscurity due to their failure to remain ahead of market trends.
A more determined effort is needed to build the necessary infrastructure to allow for increased EV adoption in these markets. Another consequence of this absorption has been a rise in lithium pricing; spot costs for the lithium carbonate in China have risen 170 percent this year, to about RMB142,000 ($22,000) per tonne, the highest level since April 2018. Spodumene, a lithium source primarily mined in Australia, has risen 144 percent this year to $990 a tonne.
As per Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, demand for lithium is predicted to increase by 26.1 percent, or around 100,000 tonnes of the lithium carbonate comparable, to a net of 450,000 tonnes, putting the market in a 10,000-tonne deficit.
Albemarle, a lithium miner, expects worldwide EV production to tenfold by 2030 and lithium demand to grow at a compound yearly rate of 30 percent through 2025. Several analysts have raised their price estimates on lithium stock due to its projections and revenue expectations.