World will need ‘at least’ 10 more EV battery gigafactories by 2025

by Sam Sheehan, Autocar UK 30 May 2018

The world could need 10 more battery factories like Tesla's Gigafactory

Skyrocketing global demand for electrified vehicles will require the building of “at least” 10 more battery 'gigafactories' by 2025, a new intergovernmental report has said.

According to findings produced by the International Energy Agency (IEA), a Paris-based organisation that advises governments on the future of energy, the global fleet of electrified vehicles will grow from just over three million vehicles today to as many as 220 million by 2030.

This rapid growth in hybrids, full electric and fuel-cell vehicles has already started to gain traction, so much so that the number of electrified cars on the roads globally will treble by 2020. The number of vehicle chargers (both private and public) also surged by around a million between 2016 and 2017.

The IEA predicts that, by 2030, the growing popularity of electrified vehicles will reduce demand for oil by about 2.57 million barrels per day. However, it also suggests that, in order to achieve this and support demand for battery EVs, Tesla-style battery factories - or as Tesla CEO Elon Musk has coined them, gigafactories - will need to be opened in quick succession.

Tesla’s Nevada factory — which, when it is finished, will be the largest building in the world at more than 10 million square feet — will be able to produce 35 gigawatt-hours of batteries per year. That’s around half of the current global demand, but the IEA predicts that the world needs more than 10 times of that by the end of the next decade.

Most demand for batteries will continue to come from China, which has already cemented itself as the world’s leading electrified car market, but Europe and the US will also see significant increases. Norway looks well placed to hang onto its lead in terms of market share – electrified vehicles accounted for 39% of new car sales there last year.

UK electric motor firm Equipmake ready to became world's top supplier

The UK’s electrified car market has seen rapid growth recently, with a 49.3 percent year-on-year increase in April. There are now 9365 new alternatively fuelled vehicles on UK roads, although the market share is still a relatively small 5.6 percent.

The recent downturn of diesel hasn’t provided electrified car sales with the surge in demand that some had predicted. Diesel demand in Europe fell by 13.2 percent last month, but figures suggest this has encouraged more people to buy petrol-powered vehicles instead because demand for these models grew by 53.5 percent in April. This shift to petrol recently led to the first recorded increase in automotive CO2 output since records began.

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