Press Release

Raw Materials for Innovative Vehicle Technologies

July 29, 2019

"We need to make the supply chains for raw materials more sustainable for all technologies”

thinkstep’s new e-mobil BW study reveals solutions for electromobility’s raw materials problem.

The new e-mobil BW study conducted by thinkstep on the raw material requirements of battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles has shown that lithium, cobalt, platinum, nickel, rare earth metals and copper should be classified as critical because of their expected significance for electric vehicles and their limited availability and substitutability. However, modern technologies, such as electromobility, will only be successful and accepted if such raw materials are available, inexpensive and sustainably extracted.

Raw materials with a major impact on costs and CO2 emissions

In addition to the supply structures in the countries of origin, the detailed study focuses on questions concerning the expansion of production capacities, resulting supply dependencies, greenhouse gas emissions and price developments and includes the importance of considering ecological, social and ethical aspects of raw material extraction.

Material supply chains must become more sustainable

"We are concerned with providing important information and facts in this study to illuminate the raw material problem comprehensively and above all to show solution strategies so that we can tackle the topic quickly," says Franz Loogen, Managing Director of e-mobil BW GmbH, about the objective of the study, which was written by the consulting firm thinkstep AG on behalf of the state agency.

"After all, securing the availability of raw materials, increasing resource efficiency and sustainable material supply chains are decisive factors in ensuring that electromobility is successful on the market. The recovery of raw materials through recycling represents a great opportunity for us to live up to our claim of sustainable management," says Loogen.

Both vehicle technologies necessary

It is important for the authors of the study to stress that the comparative analysis does not aim to present the two technologies as competing. Because of different technological characteristics and different target sectors, BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) and FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle) will coexist.

Aiming at social and ecological improvements as well

In order for electromobility to be accepted, industry must avoid achieving affordable climate protection at the expense of people and the environment in the countries where raw materials are extracted. For all the raw materials considered, the study shows numerous starting points for reducing health hazards from mining activities and minimizing regional environmental degradation with effects on local populations.

The study recommends seven actions for greater sustainability on the basis of the results. These are summarized in the detailed press release in PDF format (Note: this detailed press release is in German).

Download the complete study

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