Lithium Deployment in Passenger EV Batteries Up 47% Year-over-Year in May 2019

Jul. 15, 2019

Rising sales of EVs, especially high-capacity BEVs, accelerating lithium demand growth

In May 2019, 47% more lithium carbonate equivalent (“LCE”) was deployed globally in batteries of passenger EVs than the same month the year prior, according to Adamas Intelligence’s latest subscription-based “EV Battery Lithium Monthly” report.

This increase in LCE deployment was driven primarily by two factors.

Firstly, global sales of passenger HEVs, PHEVs and BEVs collectively increased by 12% in May 2019 versus May 2018, translating to an increase in deployment of li-ion batteries.

Secondly, sales of high-capacity BEVs, such as the Tesla Model 3, BYD Yuan and Nissan Leaf PLUS/e+, made up a greater share of total passenger EV sales this year than they did last year, boosting the sales-weighted-average battery capacity of all EVs sold by 33% over the same period, translating to greater use of LCE per vehicle.

In total, 47% of LCE deployed globally in passenger EV batteries in May 2019 went into NCM 523 cells (primarily in the form of lithium carbonate), up from 43% the same month the year prior.

Similarly, 14% of LCE deployed globally in passenger EV batteries in May 2019 went into NCM 622 cells (primarily in the form of lithium hydroxide), up from 8% in May 2018.

Moreover, 2% of all LCE deployed globally in passenger EV batteries in May 2019 went into NCM 811 cells (primarily in the form of lithium hydroxide) versus near-negligible quantities deployed the same month the year prior.

In total, the collective market share of NCM 622 and NCM 811 cathodes (by capacity deployed) has doubled since May 2018, painting an increasingly bright future for lithium hydroxide and other precursors used in these chemistries.

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