Defining the Demand and Supply of Raw Materials for UK-Manufactured Batteries

The Faraday Institution has built a robust suite of models to forecast EV take-up and sales, demand for battery manufacturing and raw materials, including global raw material reserves and resources remaining.

The transition from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles (EVs) will require a domestic supply of batteries and in turn substantially increase the demand for key raw materials such as cobalt, nickel and lithium. Policymakers and industry analysts recognise that there is considerable uncertainty about the quantities required, whether an appropriate UK supply chain could be developed, and whether the UK could obtain the required quantities of raw materials from global markets.

The Faraday Institution built a robust and flexible suite of forecasting models to estimate global and UK EV take-up and sales to 2050, battery manufacturing demand to 2050, demand for raw materials, particularly cobalt, nickel and lithium; and levels of global raw material reserves and resources remaining.

Alongside policy analysis this work was used as evidence in the Faraday Institution consultation submissions to the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), the Climate Change Committee (the CCC) and the Zero Carbon Commission. The submissions provided clarity to policy development by highlighting that UK supply chains should be able to meet EV and raw material demand to 2025; there are enough global resources to supply the manufacture of EV batteries to 2040; current production is far from adequate to meet future demand and the global mining industry will need to scale-up significantly, and that there is potential for serious bottlenecks in supply from 2025 to 2035 when EV demand starts to accelerate.

This work directly led to the Government’s new policy to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

The Faraday Institution models and analyses establish that the UK needs to start immediately to ensure that a resilient UK supply chain can be developed as EV use increases.

Two Faraday Insights have been published in this subject area:

Download Insight 6 – Lithium, Cobalt and Nickel: The Gold Rush of the 21st Century

Download Insight 7 – Building a Responsible Cobalt Supply Chain

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