Top 5 EV battery cell suppliers by cobalt consumption
CATL leads despite sizeable LFP output
Through the first ten months of 2023, a total of 44,390 tonnes of cobalt were deployed onto roads globally in the batteries of all newly sold passenger EVs combined, 33% more than the same period in 2022, according to Adamas Intelligence data.
Among cell suppliers, CATL took the top spot with 13,266 tonnes of cobalt deployed onto roads globally, up 36% year-over-year.
CATL’s position as top cobalt consumer comes despite the fact that over one-third of the Chinese company’s output from January through October last year was cobalt-free LFP batteries.
LG Energy Solution claimed second place with 11,222 tonnes of cobalt deployed, up 46% year-over-year.
Unlike CATL, LG Energy Solution does not produce LFP batteries for the EV market currently but announced in October last year it will start mass production of these low-cost alternatives to NCM and NCA batteries in 2025.
In a distant third with 4,156 tonnes of cobalt deployed was CALB. The Hong Kong listed firm rolled 54% more cobalt onto roads from January through October last year than the same period the year prior. More than three-quarters of CALB’s output in GWh terms is NCM 5-Series cells, which is made up of roughly 20% cobalt.
In fourth was Panasonic, which steered 3,765 tonnes of cobalt onto roads through the first ten months of last year, up 36% over the same period the year prior.
In GWh terms, a full 80% of the Japanese company’s overall cell production is NCA cells that it supplies to Tesla as part of a business relationship dating back to 2011.
Samsung SDI rounded out the top five with 3,441 tonnes of cobalt deployed from January through October 2023, up 26% year-over-year.
Conspicuous by its absence in the ranking is BYD – the world’s number two battery producer in terms of power hours hitting roads last year.
BYD is the top EV maker globally, overtaking Tesla last year (when including PHEVs), and focuses exclusively on LFP cells. As other automakers continue to follow in its tire treads, headwinds for cobalt demand will only get stronger in the coming years.
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