Copper Demand in Cars Set to Surge Driven by Electrification: Report

Report predicts 4.8% annual growth in copper use by auto industry due to EV components.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are driving a surge in copper demand for the automotive industry, according to a new report by IDTechEx.

Demand is expected to grow at a 4.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), reaching 5 million tonnes (MT) by 2034, up from just over 3 MT in 2023.

Electrification is the key driver:

While traditional wiring needs are increasing due to growing vehicle complexity, the real copper demand boost comes from EV components like:

  • Traction motors
  • High voltage cabling
  • Inverters
  • Chargers
  • Batteries

Batteries are particularly copper-intensive:

  • The average 64kWh battery in an EV requires 25.4kg of copper.
  • Copper is crucial for its electrical and chemical properties in battery cells.

Challenges and Potential Solutions:

  • Cost: While copper is the preferred choice, its price is a concern.


  • Aluminum is used in some components, but cannot fully replace copper in battery cells.
  • Other alternatives like stainless steel and carbon have limitations.

Mitigating factors:

  • Thinner copper foils: Research is underway to reduce foil thickness in batteries.
  • Battery chemistry: Chemistries with higher energy density (like NMC) require less copper per kWh compared to those with lower density (like LFP).

LFP batteries gaining traction:

  • LFP batteries, with their lower cost but higher copper demand, are expected to see increased adoption.
  • This trend, coupled with larger battery sizes, will further increase copper demand for EVs.

The report by IDTechEx goes beyond electrification, also considering factors like:

  • Motor design
  • Power electronics trends
  • Rise of autonomous vehicles
  • All these factors will significantly impact future copper demand in the automotive industry.

The report highlights the crucial role copper plays in the transition towards electric vehicles. While there are challenges in terms of cost and potential replacements, advancements in battery technology and alternative materials can help address the growing copper demand.