Glencore boss cheers imminent electric car boom

London - Glencore chief executive officer Ivan Glasenberg said the rise of electric cars will significantly boost demand for minerals including copper and lithium in the coming decades.

"The electric vehicle revolution is happening and its impact is likely to be felt faster than expected," Glasenberg told investors at an industry conference in Barcelona on Tuesday. Almost all carmakers are increasing investment in electric vehicles as governments adopt tighter emissions targets, he added.

Electric vehicles require more copper wiring than standard internal combustion engines. For example, the battery in an electric car contains about 38 kilograms of copper, 11 kilograms of cobalt and 11 kilograms of nickel, according to Glencore. Those materials, along with maganese, stand to benefit from more demand for electric cars, Glasenberg said.

Demand is growing for battery-powered vehicles. European sales of alternative-fuel models, which include fully electric cars and hybrid vehicles, jumped 36% in the first quarter to 235 438 vehicles, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

Volkswagen will triple spending on developing alternatives to combustion engines to €9bn over the next five years. Daimler’s bill for the transformation stands at €10bn.

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