BMW Group, General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and other car companies could hit a roadblock in their efforts to put more electric vehicles on the market: a cobalt shortage.
The silvery metal, a byproduct of copper mining, is in high demand as a component of lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. But there might not be enough cobalt to go around, forcing car companies to look for alternatives, potentially delaying the transition to electric motoring.
Even in a scenario in which battery technology is improved to minimize the need for cobalt, the metal will be in short supply from 2025 on, according to projections published this month by the Joint Research Centre, the in-house science service of the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm.
This could be a problem, particularly in the European Union, where governments have started to set electric vehicle targets as part of their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.
Denmark, for example, seeks to ban the sale of fossil-fueled cars after 2030, while the U.K. has said it will only permit vehicles with zero emissions starting in 2040. The EU as a whole is moving ahead with various measures to cut carbon dioxide emissions from cars, trucks, and buses, which in effect translates to electric vehicles.
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