As the world shifts from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, the battery has become a crucial part of the energy markets. The battery is the primary factor in the development and success of battery-powered vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). It presents various material needs both in the manufacture, maintenance and packaging. The rise in the number of BEVs and PHEVs has led to a higher demand for these materials and blooming respective markets. For instance, the need for metals such as nickel, cobalt, lithium, copper, aluminum, and steel alongside thermal interface materials and insulators has increased.

A Cambridge-based electronics company, IDTechEx, has unveiled a fresh spreadsheet-based tool which does list forecasts for several materials demand at a cell and pack level for BEVs and PHEV batteries in the vehicle market. The predictive tool also projects possible demands of multi-metal as well as other materials demand in tons between 2018 and 2031.

The tool also allows users to create their forecasts by inputting different possible sales as well as battery capacities to how different variables affect the demand for materials over the next decade. Besides, a scenario feature will compare several sales predictions for individual materials simultaneously.

Consumers and firms can determine the material intensities throughout the tool using the IDTechEx study. The researchers concluded their study from interviews with industry stakeholders such as battery manufacturers and energy analysts, and research was also based on the firm’s analysis of several secondary sources.

“Trends like battery size, cell as well as pack energy density, cell geometry market shares, thermal control approach, and the cell chemistry market shares are determined using a detailed model database of more than 240 BEV as well as PHEV versions sold from the year 2015 to 2020”, said IDTechEx in an article.

The tool predicts materials used in the battery cells as well as those used in the battery pack. Components used in the cell manufacture include materials for the cathodes, anodes, electrolytes, separators, binders, and castings. The spreadsheet-like tool forecasts materials used to make interconnects, enclosures, thermal management, thermal interface, inter-cell pads, insulation, and fire-retardant materials for the battery packaging.

Examples of materials forecasted by this tool include metals used in the cell and pack level. These are aluminum, copper, iron, lithium, manganese, nickel, and steel. Non-metal materials used in the maintenance and performance of batteries include carbon black, cell casings, carbon fiber reinforced polymer, fire retardants, glass fiber reinforced polymer, inter-cell materials, polyvinylidene difluoride binder, silicone anodes, thermal management and interface materials.