Technology Collaboration Programme

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Task 40

CRM4EV – Critical Raw Materials for Electric Vehicles

Objective of Task

With this projected mass deployment of EVs, attention is drawn to potential supply chain issues for several Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) needed for EV manufacturing. For materials, like Lithium, Cobalt, Graphite and Rare Earth Elements news headlines referring to these (potential) supply chain issues are now frequently seen in the main stream press.

For Electric Vehicles, several materials are considered as (potentially) critical for a (quick) ramp up of production volumes. However, fact based and accurate up to date information on this is not easily available to all the relevant stakeholders.

Examples of the issues which need to be covered are:

  • Which materials are critical raw materials for EVs?
  • Are there currently already supply chain issues?
  • What are other uses of the CRMs and how will these develop?
  • Towards a future of mass deployment, are there any supply chain issues? If so, are these temporarily or structural and under what circumstances would these issues occur?
  • Are there alternative materials or solutions available?
  • What are the impacts of evolving battery technologies?
  • What is the nature of the supply chain issues: material availability, environmental impacts, social impacts, geographical dependencies (concentration)?

Materials like Lithium, Cobalt, Graphite, Rare Earth Elements and others are frequently in the news related to their (presumed) scarcity, environmental or social issues. Lithium has been a "hot topic" for years but is perhaps less an issue in the long run, Nickel is not but will probably be on the list as well. Conflicting information are making it difficult for policymakers and administrations to get fact based and reliable information.

Combustion engine technologies also require critical materials, often with overlooked or already accepted impacts. Fuel Cells use currently PGMs (Platinum Group Metals). The Task will review impacts of mass BEV deployment on the currently critical raw materials as well from a material availability point of view.

working method

The overall objective of CRM4EV is to generate and continuously update the relevant information needed related to critical raw materials for EVs by Task member countries and other Task stakeholders.

To achieve this, the Task will build a global representative network on the topic "Critical Materials for EVs" with stakeholders from administrations, industry, policymakers, researchers and other relevant stakeholders representing the different value chains of the identified "in-scope" critical materials. The network will meet twice per year through workshops and a structure with several sub-groups for different critical materials / topics may be defined. Use the actual need for information and analyses from governments (and the EU) and those of other stakeholders as the basis to define the detailed tasks to be conducted. IEA HEV TCP participating countries will be in the lead for this!

  • Define and maintain a list of critical raw materials and the relevant impact categories for EVs. For these raw materials information needs to be collected and kept up to date. The starting list will contain Cobalt, Lithium, Nickel, Graphite, Neodymium, Dysprosium and Copper will be reviewed for inclusion.
  • Provide reliable, up to date and relevant information to the Task participants and publish (a selection of this) information.
  • Prepare and maintain "Fact Sheets" per CRM and topic containing the key information needed by stakeholders. The Fact Sheets will be made available for publication (in full or summarized version).
  • Data collected, outcome of analyses done by the Task participants or scenario studies made for possible future needs of CRMs for EVs.

Next to country representative involvement, international, national or regional stakeholders from industry, research (projects), NGO's and other stakeholders will be included in the network. Workshops are key to get large numbers of stakeholders on board. Participating IEA HEV TCP countries will be encouraged and expected to bring relevant stakeholders on board.

  • Develop global views as well as regional or country perspectives, based on the stakeholder needs and outputs from the Task (information, analysis, scenarios).
  • Data collection and analyses will be a continuous process to be validated and build on during the workshops.
  • Experts and stakeholder involvement to review "Fact Sheets" and other outcomes.

Tasks to be executed (non-exhaustive)

  • Define and maintain a list of Critical Raw Materials to include in the scope of the Task CRM4EV
  • Define "criticality" of the Critical Raw Materials in scope:
    • Depending on geography
    • Depending on penetration rate in the EV application (scenarios)
    • Depending on the use of the CM in EVs, cars and in other applications
    • Short term versus long term supply issues
  • Evaluate (future) availability of alternative solutions or materials (e.g. Rare Earth Element free electro-motors, solid state batteries).
  • Define the different sources (mines: where, what) and exploitable reserves of the different Critical Raw Materials (are they exploited as primary or secondary product?). Evaluate the impact of permitting processes in expanding existing or opening new mines.
  • Evaluate quality (and purity) requirements and issues (materials from different mines / processes can have different characteristics).
  • Evaluate environmental (life cycle) and social impacts.
  • Evaluate importance of recycling today, gap analyses in recovery and recycling technologies. Cost position of recycling, legislation?
  • Evaluate LCA impacts, variations by region, source, refining processes and other parameters.
  • Review existing (and in development) recycling processes and collection of materials for recycling, obligations (legislation), costs.
  • Define and analyse scenarios for future requirements and needs for CRMs for EVs.