Currently, the long-range BEVs use lithium-ion cells mostly with nickel-based cathodes.
Nickel has become the major substance of modern xEV (BEV/PHEV/HEV) batteries and according to Adamas Intelligence, its usage increased in May by 57% year-over-year.
The further analysis reveals that 73% of battery nickel deployment falls on xEVs sold in three countries China, U.S. And Japan:
- China - with a share of 40% (compared to 38% in 2018)
- U.S. - with a share of 25% (same as in 2018)
- Japan - with a share of 8% (compared to 11% in 2018)
Nickel is heavily used in NCM 523, NCM 622 and NCM 811 cathodes, as well as in Tesla/Panasonic NCA. Those are higher-energy dense chemistries with low cobalt content.
In the case of Japan, the share of global nickel deployment decreased, because it was used in outgoing NiMH batteries in hybrids.
"China alone was responsible for 40% of all NME deployed globally in passenger EV batteries in May 2019 versus 38% in May 2018 as passenger EV makers in the nation have increasingly adopted higher energy density NCM cells, which contain nickel, at the expense of lower energy density LFP alternatives that do not. In China, battery nickel is consumed mainly as nickel sulphate.
The U.S. was responsible for 25% of all NME deployed globally in passenger EV batteries in May 2019, the same percentage as in May 2018, as sales of high-capacity BEVs, such as the Tesla Model 3, using high-nickel cathode chemistries have remained robust. In the U.S., as in China, battery nickel is consumed mainly as nickel sulphate.
Finally, Japan was responsible for 8% of all NME deployed globally in passenger EV batteries in May 2019 versus 11% in May 2018. In Japan, nickel is used primarily in NiMH batteries for HEVs as opposed to in China and the U.S. where it is mainly used in Li-ion batteries for BEVs and PHEVs. Owing to this difference, in Japan, battery nickel is consumed mainly as nickel hydroxide and AB5 nickel-REE alloy."
Source: Adamas Intelligence