Auto parts makers shine spotlight on aluminium's role in electric vehicles

LONDON (Reuters) - A faster paced energy transition through a speedier shift to electric vehicles has created a new, substantial demand stream for aluminium and major opportunities for auto supply chain firms flying under investors’ radar.

Previously shunned in favour of cheaper steel, aluminium consumption in electric vehicles is expected to accelerate over coming years as COVID-19 hastens the move to a green economic recovery.

Significantly lighter than steel, aluminium is now the metal of choice in a range of parts - from the chassis, structural components such as the shock tower and internal panels to housing for motors and the batteries that power electric cars.

Aluminium producers such as Rusal, Rio Tinto and Glencore with access to large amounts of metal are set to benefit.

Not as well known, but also in pole position are firms making the components. They include Mexico’s Nemak, Canada’s Linamar and France-based Constellium.

Sitting on both sides is Norsk Hydro, which produces aluminium metal and parts for autos.

“The electric vehicle segment is the bright spot in the automotive segment, currently 20% of sales volume is going to e-mobility and the tendency is increasing,” said Egil Hogna, head of Extruded Solutions at Norsk Hydro.

Hydro delivers more than 350,000 tonnes of aluminium products to the auto industry every year, with rough estimates showing around 15% of that going to electric vehicles.

It allocated 30% of its auto investment budget within its Extruded Solutions division to products for electric vehicle customers this year and expects annual growth of 20% in some parts of its aluminium product business between 2020 and 2024.


News more