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Parliamentary questions
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22 May 2019
Answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001005/2019

Precise estimates on the amount of raw materials in batteries are difficult to obtain. Various car models use different types and sizes of batteries. The main issue is the capacity of the battery.(1)

Raw materials use is directly correlated to the amount of kWh, depending on the car model, usually between 20 — 100kWh. Therefore, it is very difficult to predict accurately battery capacity, total value of the market, battery prices and raw materials amounts.

However, the 2018 Raw Materials Scoreboard(2) estimates that current demand for lithium and cobalt in electric vehicle segments does not surpass 1 000 tonnes. However it forecasts, for 2030, a rapid demand increase to over 22 000 tonnes for lithium and almost 14 000 tonnes for cobalt. The increased amount of lithium would correspond to 37% of the global production of 43 000 tonnes in 2017. The increased amount of cobalt would correspond to 13% of the global production of 110 000 tonnes in 2017.

The Commission works with Member States and key industry stakeholders in the European Battery Alliance (EBA) for a competitive, sustainable and innovative battery ecosystem in Europe, covering the entire value chain, and the Strategic Action Plan on Batteries embraces access to raw materials including re-use and recycling.

The EU must diversify its sources of the battery raw materials, including domestic sources, use trade policy and circularity through recovery, re-use and recycling. Recycling used Electric Vehicle batteries could significantly contribute to securing access to raw materials and its share of meeting demand of cobalt within the EU could reach 10% in 2030, superior to the contribution from the EU mining sector(3).

(1)Measured in kilo watt hours (kWh).
(3)Alves Dias P., et. al., Cobalt: demand — supply balances in the transition to electric mobility, EUR 29381 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2018.

Last updated: 23 May 2019Legal notice