What Metals Are Used in Electric Vehicles?

Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular each year as people become more aware of the benefits of this technology. There are many metals used to make electric cars, and each one has its unique benefits and drawbacks.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at what metals are used in electric vehicles and how they are mined and incorporated into the car. We will also discuss any alternative metals used in electric vehicle production and why they might be a better option.

The Rising Popularity of Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular as people look for ways to reduce their environmental impact and save money on fuel costs. In fact, in 2021, there were over 600,000 electric vehicles on the road in the United States alone (doubling since 2020). 

There are several reasons for this increase in popularity, but one of the most important is the improving technology. Electric cars are becoming more efficient and have a longer range than before. Additionally, charging stations are becoming more widespread, making it easier for people to recharge their cars.

With governments increasingly investing in these technologies and offering incentives for people to switch to electric cars, the popularity of electric vehicles will likely continue to grow in the coming years. For more information on electric vehicles, check out our complete guide here

Metals Are Used in Electric Vehicles

Now we know a little about the context of electric vehicles, let’s take a deep dive into the metals used to produce this sustainable technology.

Silver

Silver is a soft, white metal that is found in the Earth’s crust. It is most commonly mined through open-pit mining, which involves removing large amounts of rock and soil to reach the silver deposit.

Once the silver has been extracted, it can be used in several different ways. In electric vehicles, silver is typically used in batteries. Silver is a good conductor of electricity and helps improve the efficiency of the battery.

Silver is a key metal for the functionality of electric vehicles, however it does have some setbacks. For instance, the price of silver makes production a costly process. Furthermore,  silver is a relatively rare metal, which could lead to electric vehicles becoming more expensive if the demand for silver continues to grow. 

Cobalt

Meanwhile, cobalt (also known as the “blue metal”) is a hard, silver-grey metal mined through underground mining. This process commonly involves digging tunnels and shafts to reach the cobalt deposit.

Cobalt is used in electric vehicles because it helps to improve the performance of batteries. Cobalt increases the battery’s capacity and helps to make it more stable.

Like silver, cobalt is also a finite resource and is becoming increasingly expensive to mine! Furthermore, most cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has been plagued by conflict for years. Consequently, most cobalt supply is produced through child labor and conflict mining methods, which raises a number of ethical concerns. 

Palladium

Palladium is another essential metal for electric vehicles, as it is a key resource for making batteries.

Palladium helps improve the performance and efficiency of batteries, making it an essential component for electric vehicles. This is due to its properties as a metal, making it an excellent conductor of electricity. As a result, palladium batteries enjoy longer lifespans and can hold more charge.

While palladium is an essential metal for electric vehicles, it is also one of the most expensive metals on the market. The price of palladium has increased significantly in recent years, making it difficult to source and afford. According to The Assay, Palladium’s spot price in January was sitting at US$1,862 per ounce, with prices expected to increase 4% by 2025.

As electric vehicles become more popular, it is important to consider the long-term viability of metals like palladium. Are there sustainable and affordable alternatives that can be used in place of palladium?

Lithium

Lithium is a soft, silver metal that is mined through a process called hard-rock mining. This process involves drilling and blasting the rock to reach the lithium deposit.

Lithium is used in electric vehicles because it helps improve the performance of batteries. Lithium batteries are lighter and more efficient than other batteries, making them ideal for electric vehicles.

However, one of the biggest problems with lithium is its limited global supply. According to Reuters, the increasing demand for lithium could trigger a global shortage. This poses a tricky future for lithium batteries and, consequently, electric vehicles. 

Gold

Gold is used in electric vehicles because it helps to improve the performance of batteries. Gold increases the battery’s capacity, helping boost its stability. Gold is an essential resource for electric vehicles, but it is also one of the most expensive metals on the market.

The price of gold has increased significantly in recent years, making it difficult to source and afford. The price of gold has increased significantly in recent years, making it difficult to source and afford. Some sources state that gold could increase as much as 14% by 2024, which provides a solid indication of how expensive it can be to make electric vehicles. 

Final Thoughts

With electric vehicles booming in popularity, the big question remains: are there enough natural resources to meet the growing demand? It is estimated that there will be enough metals to produce electric vehicles in the next few years. However, as electric vehicles become more popular, the price of metals will likely continue to increase. This could make electric cars more expensive and difficult to produce.

As we move towards a more sustainable future, it is important to consider the long-term viability of metals used in electric vehicles. Are there sustainable and affordable alternatives that can be used in place of these metals?

What do you think about the future of electric vehicles?