Decarbonising the automotive sector: a primary raw material perspective on targets and timescales

Petavratzi, Evi; Gunn, Gus. 2023 Decarbonising the automotive sector: a primary raw material perspective on targets and timescales. Mineral Economics, 36. 545-561.

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Decarbonisation of the automotive sector will require increased amounts of raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and rare earth elements. Consequently, it is crucial to assess whether supply will be able to meet forecast demand within the required timescale. The automotive sector relies on complex global supply chains comprising four tiers. We have developed an integrated timeline from tier 4 (supply of raw materials) through to tier 1, the production of electric vehicles (EVs). Numerous factors, mainly economic, political, social and environmental, influence the duration of tier 4 leading to considerable variation between projects. However, our analysis demonstrates that it commonly takes more than 30 years from initial exploration to EV production. Tier 4, which is often neglected by the automotive industry, may account for 20 years of that period. This suggests that raw material supply is unlikely to match the projected demand from electrification of the automotive sector up to 2030. Reducing the duration of tier 4 will be difficult, although governments and industry can mitigate supply risks in various ways. These include multi-disciplinary international research across the supply chain and the transformation of research findings into policy and best practice. Supply chain convergence, with businesses across the supply chain working to develop long-term plans for secure and sustainable supply, will also be beneficial. In addition, global stakeholders should work together to resolve ESG challenges to supply. All these measures depend on the availability of researchers and industry personnel with appropriate skills and knowledge.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2191-2203
Date made live: 07 Sep 2022 12:34 +0 (UTC)

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