Electric Vehicle Revolution will change demand for some metals: Gareth Penny

Electric Vehicle Revolution will change demand for some metals: Gareth Penny

Norilsk Nickel chairman Gareth Penny predicts that some metals his company deals with, will see a major change in demand and pricing. As the automobile companies will shift from diesel engines to either hybrid petrol vehicles or electric vehicles, the demand for some metals will change. Mr. Penny added that the change will be more dramatic that industry experts are expecting but the shift would take longer than majority of people predict.

Mr. Penny’s comments are important as Norilsk Nickel deals with nickel, palladium and platinum group metals. The company depends on nickel for nearly 27 percent of its revenue. Palladium accounts for 30 percent of Norilsk Nickel revenue. The demand for palladium will likely fall in future, mainly due to the elimination of catalytic converters, Mr. Penny added.

Hybrid battery vehicles account for 9 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. market and the market is growing at an annual rate of 18 percent. Battery-powered electric vehicles account for 3 percent of sales in the U.S. market and the segment is growing at 25 percent. With Tesla registering strong order book for Model 3, the sales growth in electric vehicle segment is expected to witness a major boost.

Fuel cell-based electric vehicles account for just 1 percent market share. With more models in pipeline for electric vehicles and decline in sales for diesel vehicles, the sales are expected to grow. Many European countries have planned to ban diesel vehicles and this will push automobile companies to invest more money in electric vehicle technology.

“Norilsk will definitely look at some form of partnership at different levels in the industry in order to maximize the value of its product. That’s something we’re actively considering at the moment,” Penny informed. “I don’t know about developing batteries, but we’re looking very carefully at working with European chemical company BASF, with whom we’ve had relationships before.”

Mr. Penny added, “Like most of these things, the move to electric vehicles will take longer than people think, but when the time arrives it’ll be even more dramatic. We are confident that in the next 10 years, demand for palladium in hybrid vehicles is going to grow very rapidly and probably outstrip the absolute growth of battery and fuel cell EVs.”