The world’s largest asset management company sees sales of electric vehicles growing over the next two to three years as prices fall and more options are made available to the public.
Evy Hambro, BlackRock’s global head of thematic and sector investing, said the eclectic vehicle market is “at a tipping point for change,” according to CNBC. She added that as more and more models come to market and price points drop, the market will spike.
Demand vs. Supply
In August, a report from the International Energy Agency said the number of electric and plug-in hybrid cars on the world’s roads exceeded 3 million in 2017, a 54% increase compared with 2016.According to the report, China remained by far the largest electric car market in the world, accounting for half sold last year. Nearly 580,000 electric cars were sold in China in 2017, a 72% increase from the previous year. The United States had the second-highest, with about 280,000 cars sold in 2017, up from 160,000 in 2016.
There are supply chain risks, however. Innovations in battery chemistry will be needed to maintain growth as there are supply issues with core elements that make up lithium-ion batteries, such as nickel, lithium and cobalt. The supply of cobalt is particularly subject to risks as almost 60% of the global production of cobalt is currently concentrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Additionally, the capacity to refine and process raw cobalt is highly concentrated, with China controlling 90% of refining capacity. Even accounting for ongoing developments in battery chemistry, cobalt demand for EVs is expected to be between 10 and 25 times higher than current levels by 2030.