Copper And Electric Cars: Why The Metal Is Essential To EV Technology?

2017-chevrolet-bolt-ev

Copper is used throughout electric cars, charging stations and supporting infrastructure. In this article we’re briefly telling about why this metal is essential to EV technology and important for the future electric mobility.

Copper is durable, highly conductive, efficient, plastic, resistant to corrosion, convenient for use in various alloys, relatively easy to mine. It is applied for production of electrical wiring, rechargeable batteries and electric motors in cars.

How much copper do vehicles have?
  • Conventional  ICE-powered cars have 18-49 pounds;
  • Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) use approx. 85 pounds;
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) contain 132 pounds;
  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have 183 pounds;
  • Hybrid electric buses use 196 pounds;
  • Battery electric buses contain 814 pounds, mostly in the battery.

1 pound = 0,454 kg

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Why copper?
  • Cost: copper is cheaper than other metals. It costs about $0.20 per ounce (1oz = 28g), while silver is $15/oz, gold – $1,200/oz;
  • Conductivity: it has almost the same conductive properties as silver. High and low temperatures do not affect its conductivity;
  • Plasticity: this metal is easily molded into wire.
More electrification = more copper

If we compare the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt (upper photo) and the internal combustion engine Volkswagen Golf, then the first one contains 80% more copper (mostly its electric motor). Copper winding wire in the motor is about 1,24mi (2km long)! The Chevy’s battery comprises 8% of Cu and weights 959lb (435kg).

In the future, when all passenger cars are electrified, copper demand will increase by 22%.

Source: Copper Development Assisiation Inc.

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