The rise of Tesla Motors Inc.’s electric cars won’t be enough to change the market for conventional vehicles or dent demand for the precious metals used to filter exhaust fumes, according to GMK Norilsk Nickel PJSC.
The lack of infrastructure to charge them and the pressure on power grids means that in the long term, the vehicles may comprise just 15 percent of the total auto market, according to Anton Berlin, head of analysis and market development for Norilsk. In the next five years, the market’s size will be limited to about 2 percent.
Norilsk is the world’s biggest producer of palladium, which are used along with platinum in catalytic converters that reduce car pollution. While the company would lose some business if electric cars, which don’t produce toxic emissions, becomes a significant part of the auto industry, it would benefit from more demand for nickel, which is used in the batteries.
“We do not expect the scale of electric car production to be large enough to replace the cars with internal combustion engines in the foreseeable future and to affect the platinum group of metals market,” Berlin said in an interview from Moscow.
Volkswagen AG to General Motors Co. are rushing to introduce electric cars and Tesla this month unveiled its most ambitious plan to produce 500,000 of the vehicles every year starting in 2018. That’s 10 times the number of vehicles it produced in 2015.
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