New energy vehicle market nickel demand calculation in China

New energy vehicle batteries include two types: ternary and lithium iron phosphate, and the battery is mainly composed of positive electrode material (lithium nickel cobalt manganate, lithium iron phosphate), negative electrode material (graphite), separator (polyethylene) and electrolyte (lithium hexafluorophosphate) It is composed of 4 parts. The ternary battery has high energy density, good low temperature effect, low cost of lithium iron phosphate battery, and good safety. Ternary batteries are mainly used in high-end vehicles, power tools, smart devices and other fields. Lithium iron phosphate batteries are mainly used in low-end vehicles, energy storage and other fields. The mid-end vehicle market is more competitive between the two. Due to the decline in subsidies, iron phosphate The cost advantages of lithium batteries are emerging, and their share is gradually expanding.
Rapid progress in lithium battery technology
Broad application prospects
Due to technological progress and the implementation of the “dual-carbon” goal, the market for new energy vehicles and new energy power generation has huge potential, and the instability of new energy power generation requires corresponding energy storage facilities, and the energy storage market will usher in a period of rapid development. The rapid development of battery technology, the gradual decline in cost, and the significant increase in safety, lithium batteries will continue to replace lead-acid and other batteries, and the application prospects of ternary and lithium iron phosphate batteries are broad.
Nickel is mainly used as the cathode material of ternary batteries. The ternary batteries benefit from the rapid development of the new energy vehicle market and the replacement of other batteries, and the increase in demand is large. The production process of ternary batteries is complex, the manufacturing cost is high, and the cost of raw materials accounts for less than 60%. Among them, the cathode material accounts for 33%. The company is not sensitive to the fluctuation of raw material prices, and the demand is relatively rigid.
The battery has high safety requirements, strict security inspections, complex production processes, multiple processes, and strict requirements for manufacturing environments such as dust and humidity. Battery production mainly includes three process stages: batteries, modules and battery packs. The production department first coats the positive and negative materials on aluminum foil and copper foil respectively to make pole pieces. The positive and negative poles are separated by a separator. The core is rolled, and then the metal shell is installed to make the battery core; the battery core is paired, cleaned, and then glued with the end plate and the side plate to assemble and produce the module; the corresponding module is installed in the shell and connected The high and low voltage wiring harness is installed in the cooling system, and then produced into a battery pack; the battery system production process also needs to conduct multiple tests such as heat pressure, resistance, air tightness testing, and insulation to meet safety requirements.
The complex production process and safety testing of the battery system result in relatively high manufacturing costs. Due to the high cost of raw materials for ternary batteries, the manufacturing cost is relatively low, but it also exceeds 40%. The manufacturing cost of lithium iron phosphate batteries accounts for about 50%. The battery production cost accounts for a relatively low proportion, and companies rely relatively weakly on raw materials, and have a good acceptance of high-priced raw materials. With the advancement of technology, the manufacturing cost of the battery industry chain will gradually decrease, and the proportion of raw material costs will increase. From the perspective of the above, the demand of enterprises is relatively rigid. In the cost of ternary battery, the cathode material of nickel cobalt manganese oxide accounts for about 30%, which is much higher than that of lithium iron phosphate cathode material.
Domestic new energy vehicle subsidies decline
The proportion of ternary batteries decreased
In the past few years, the new energy vehicle market has been greatly affected by the decline of financial subsidies. Due to the significant decline in subsidies, the current subsidy amount is relatively small, and the era of market-oriented development of new energy vehicles has begun. Due to the decline in subsidies, the cost advantage of lithium iron phosphate batteries has appeared, and the market share of ternary batteries has declined. In the future, lithium iron phosphate batteries may penetrate overseas markets. The ternary batteries will continue to be squeezed. The market is expected to reduce the cost of ternary batteries to 2025. Comparing with lithium iron phosphate, the share of ternary batteries is expected to rise by then.
my country’s new energy vehicle market started late, with backward technology in the initial stage and high production costs, so it needs financial subsidies to develop. In the early stage of the development of new energy vehicles, the government mainly promoted them through cities, including the ten cities 1,000 vehicles started in 2009, and subsequent financial subsidies. In order to alleviate consumer mileage anxiety, from 2017 to 2019, policy subsidies began to tilt toward energy density, and the subsidy threshold for cruising mileage was gradually increased. The ternary battery has the advantage of high energy density and is favored by the market, and the loading volume has increased significantly. Lithium iron phosphate batteries form an alternative.
Before 2020, the domestic new energy vehicle market is mainly driven by policies. Financial subsidies have a greater impact on the sales of new energy vehicles. In 2019, the central subsidy for new energy vehicles will decline by 50%. Together with the cancellation of local subsidies, the overall decline will reach 70%. The decline in subsidies led to the first decline in sales of new energy vehicles, which was a 3% decrease from 2018. The decline in subsidies has led to a decline in the cost performance of new energy vehicles and a sharp drop in sales; on the other hand, it has also prompted companies to improve technology and reduce costs, which is conducive to the marketization of new energy vehicles.
At present, in the new energy vehicle market, low-end and high-end vehicles no longer rely on subsidies (low-end vehicles have a cruising range of 300 kilometers, and high-end vehicles generally sell for more than 300,000 yuan). The market is basically achieved, and mid-end new energy Vehicle subsidies have also dropped to the level of 10,000 yuan. The impact of subsidies is getting smaller and smaller. Consumers pay more attention to the performance and high-tech technology of new energy vehicles. The era of marketization of new energy vehicles is coming. After 2022, the country will no longer Subsidies for new energy vehicles will end the 14-year subsidy era for new energy vehicles.
From a global perspective, my country is the most prominent country in the marketization of new energy vehicles. The overseas new energy vehicle market is mainly based on Europe, and European subsidies for new energy vehicles are relatively large. After Biden came to power, the new energy vehicle policy in the United States began to increase, and the overseas new energy vehicle market relied strongly on financial subsidies. Refer to the impact of my country’s new energy vehicle subsidies on the sales of new energy vehicles after the sharp decline in new energy vehicle subsidies. Subsidies have fallen rapidly, and sales of new energy vehicles will face a slowdown in growth.
From 2017 to 2019, my country’s new energy vehicle subsidies focused on cruising range and battery energy density. Due to the low energy density of lithium iron phosphate batteries at that time, the cruising range was also short, and the amount of subsidy differed greatly from that of ternary batteries. After the subsidy, there was basically nothing. Cost advantages, coupled with consumers’ own cruising range anxiety, lithium iron phosphate batteries and ternary batteries have gradually fallen in the competition, and the proportion of power batteries has dropped from 77% in 2016 to 32% in 2019.
With the good development of the new energy vehicle market, subsidies continue to decline, and starting from 2020, the policy will no longer tilt the battery energy density, the cost advantage of lithium iron phosphate batteries has begun to appear, and the proportion will rise to 39% in 2020. The proportion will further increase in 2021. The manufacturing cost of the ternary battery industry chain is relatively high, and there is a greater room for decline in the future. Before the cost disadvantage of ternary batteries is reversed, in the field of mid-end vehicles, lithium iron phosphate batteries may continue to replace ternary batteries. The market is expected to be 2025. , The cost of high-nickel ternary battery can be equivalent to that of lithium iron phosphate battery.
Lithium iron phosphate batteries are basically the technical route adopted in China, and rarely adopted by overseas car companies. At present, European new energy vehicle subsidies are relatively large, the profit pressure of car companies is small, and the accumulation of lithium iron phosphate battery technology is less. Now overseas car companies basically use ternary batteries, but the willingness to try lithium iron phosphate technology is increasing. In the future, if European new energy vehicle subsidies decline and the profits of overseas car companies are under pressure, lithium iron phosphate technology will be very attractive. It is expected that the market share of lithium iron phosphate batteries will gradually increase in the next few years.
Forecast of nickel demand in the new energy vehicle market
Europe implements strict carbon emission regulations and is supported by the domestic “dual-carbon” target. The new energy vehicle market is developing rapidly. According to the target, the demand for nickel in the new energy vehicle market is about 270,000 tons in 2025. According to the compound growth rate model, The demand for nickel is about 410,000 tons. At present, domestic new energy vehicle subsidies are small and relatively close to marketization. The compound growth rate forecasts that the amount of subsidies in Europe is high. The future subsidy may affect sales. Carbon emission constraints are used to predict the nickel demand in 2025. According to this, the demand for nickel in 2025 is estimated to be about 300,000 tons. Under different models, the demand for nickel in the new energy vehicle market is relatively high, but the difference is also large. The new energy vehicle market is expected to become the other pole of nickel demand.
Judging from the distribution of the global new energy vehicle market, China and Europe are the main battlefields, and will also be the main incremental markets in the future. In 2019, the European Union introduced the most stringent carbon emission regulations in history, requiring car companies to meet the 95g/km target of 95% of new cars with the least emissions in 2020. Car companies that fail to meet the standard will face huge fines and emission targets for 2025 and 2030. Compared with 2021, it is reduced by 15% and 37.5% respectively.
According to the “New Energy Vehicle Industry Development Plan (2021-2035)” issued by the General Office of the State Council in December 2020, the sales volume of new energy vehicles will reach about 20% of the sales volume of new vehicles. The new energy vehicle market in other countries is calculated at a growth rate of 15%. It is estimated that by 2025, global sales of new energy vehicles will reach 11.5 million.
High nickel is the future development direction of ternary materials. Substituting nickel for cobalt will not only reduce raw material costs, but also increase energy density and reduce unit energy costs. At present, high nickel materials have high manufacturing costs and low battery safety. With the advancement of technology, the two problems will be well resolved. The market expects that by 2025, the cost of high nickel batteries will be comparable to lithium iron phosphate batteries. Antaike predicts that in 2025, the proportion of high nickel materials will reach 82%.
There are many factors influencing the demand for nickel metal in the new energy vehicle market. European and American new energy vehicle policies have a greater impact on sales. Consumers’ preference for new energy vehicle models, pure electric or hybrid vehicles will affect the judgment of new energy bicycles. The competition between lithium iron phosphate and ternary battery technology routes, It will affect the market share of ternary batteries, and the speed of the development of high nickel will also affect the proportion of high nickel batteries. These factors will affect the demand for nickel.
Plug-in hybrid new energy vehicles are mainly concentrated in Europe, and other regions are basically pure electricity. It is expected that the proportion of plug-in hybrids will not change much in the future. Due to the advancement of the battery industry chain technology, the charge of electric vehicles has continued to increase; on the other hand, the sales of vehicles below the A level have increased rapidly in the past two years, which has lowered the average level of charge of electric vehicles. The price declines, the growth of the proportion of vehicles below A-class may slow down in the future, while the electric charge of electric vehicles will continue to rise, and it is expected that the overall electric charge of bicycles will basically maintain. Due to the cost advantage of lithium iron phosphate batteries, the share of installed capacity will continue to expand in the future, and the demand for nickel metal for new energy vehicles in the future will be estimated based on the proportion of ternary materials with high nickel. According to policy objectives, it is estimated that the demand for nickel metal in the new energy vehicle market in 2025 will reach 270,000 metal tons, which is nearly four times the demand in 2020, accounting for about 8% of nickel metal consumption.
From the perspective of the development of the new energy vehicle market, among the major new energy vehicle markets, my country has the least subsidies for new energy vehicles and is also the closest to marketization. European new energy vehicles have high subsidies and face the risk of subsidy decline in the future. With reference to my country’s new energy vehicles in 2019, after the subsidy has dropped significantly, the sales impact is obvious. Therefore, the sales of new energy vehicles in Europe are predicted by the carbon emission standard binding policy. The domestic new energy vehicle market has low subsidy dependence and is basically market-oriented. The compound growth rate of the past few years is used to infer. In other countries, as the US new energy policy has begun to increase, the new energy vehicle market is expected to usher in rapid growth in the future. Assuming, the author predicts that in 2025, the demand for nickel metal from new energy vehicles will be 300,000 metal tons, which is more than four times the demand in 2020.
According to the growth rate extrapolation model, the author uses the annual average growth rate of the global new energy vehicle market in the past few years to predict future sales. It is estimated that the demand for nickel metal from new energy vehicles in 2025 will reach 410,000 metal tons, which is 2020 Nearly 6 times, accounting for about 12% of nickel consumption, with a large room for increase.

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