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March 25, 2020

Electric traction motors set to drive copper demand over next decade

Widespread adoption of electric traction motors for road vehicles over the next 10 years will cause a significant increase in copper demand, according to new findings by IDTechEx in research commissioned by the International Copper Association (ICA).

By Matthew Hall

Widespread adoption of electric traction motors for road vehicles over the next 10 years will cause a significant increase in copper demand, according to new findings by IDTechEx in research commissioned by the International Copper Association (ICA).

The research found that more than 250,000 tonnes per annum of copper will be used within the windings of electric traction motors in electric vehicles by 2030. This growth in demand follows the trajectory of the global automobile market, where battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are predicted to extract the greatest value in the coming decade.

IDTechEx principal technology analyst Dr Richard Collins said: “Our global research found a clear increase in demand for copper as global car markets progress along the road towards ever greater electrification. Copper intensity fluctuates between the various types of electric traction motors, and the vast majority use copper. Motors will, therefore, be a significant source of growth for the copper industry over the next decade.”

IDTechEx predicts that by 2030 BEVs and plug-in hybrid cars will account for around 19% of the total copper market, but that this will rise sharply to a 72% market share by 2040.

ICA market intelligence director Colin Bennett said: “This detailed research demonstrates that in the coming years copper will remain a vital commodity for the global automotive market.”

Climate-based retrofitting of commercial buildings, including the installation of air conditioning systems, heat pumps, and renewable energy systems is also expected to contribute to a rise in copper demand.

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