While stainless steel has historically been the primary end market for nickel, increased adoption of electrification in vehicle production is shifting demand for the material with advancements in battery technology. This structural shift is expected to change the supply and demand dynamics within the nickel market.
Industry participants cite battery demand as a transformational development for the nickel industry, with vehicle electrification and global tightening of emissions standards key drivers underpinning market growth:
- Market forecasts quantify the shift to electric mobility, which predict a nearly five-fold increase in electric vehicle (EV) models by 2030, when one in five passenger cars sold globally will be battery electric vehicles. Government initiatives are driving EV growth, notably stringent enforcement of emissions standards supported by targeted bans on internal combustion engine vehicle sales.
- Nickel consumption in EV batteries could expand ten-fold by 2025, with battery demand projected to more than triple to an estimated 15 percent market share– up from 4 percent today.
- Major nickel producers are validating the demand shift and investing to support double-digit volume growth, with nickel integral to strategic business models. Manufacturing capacity, raw materials availability, and advancements in new battery technologies are critical variables that will impact the supply outlook.
The nickel market is expected to undergo a structural shift across the value chain that will impact supply demand dynamics. This change including stainless steel and nickel producers, distributors, manufacturers, and the major end markets they serve, with the oil & gas, aerospace, and food industries among the large consumers of the nickel-bearing material.
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