Part of the reason behind this "green" revolution is to be found in the growing concerns about the health of our planet.

Internal combustion cars won’t disappear overnight, but Electric Vehicles’ market is growing larger by the day. The “green” vehicles are going to disrupt the classical model of the car industry and change the way products are manufactured. Apart from a few exceptions, legacy car companies – Chief Strategist Micheal Bernard argues – have been very slow to respond to the inevitable electrification of their core products.

In the meantime, around the world governments’ incentives to buy non-polluting cars are boosting demand in the electric automotive sector. In Europe plug-in vehicle sales reached 259,000 units in the first half of 2019, 34% higher than for 2018 first half. These include all Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrids (PHEV) in EU and EFTA countries, passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

The plug-in share of the European light vehicle market, reports, reached 2,9% in June and 2,7% for the first half year. The uptrend is so clear, that Honda is planning to sell exclusively Electric Vehicles in Europe by 2022.

“The trend, so far, indicates an increases of 33% for the entire 2019 to around 540,000 units.”, states the Swedish study group, adding that “demand and supply experiences a profound shift towards pure Electric Vehicles (BEV).”

According to one of the speakers of the LME Week 2019 seminars, William Adams, Head of Base Metals and Battery Research at Fastmarkets, EV sales would eventually slow from the unsustainable 60% annual growth rates, but will continue to expand at close to 30% until 2023 as Electric Vehicles start to become more mainstream.

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The Mecca of Electric Vehicles: how Norway pulled that off

Part of the reason for this “green” revolution is to be found in the growing concerns about the health of our planet. Worrying levels of air pollution and various reports about the exploitation of oil resources regularly reopen the debate on the environmental impact and cost-effectiveness of commonly used fossil fuel-powered means of transport.

That said, the afore-mentioned revolution is coming along slowly. Except for a few Scandinavian countries, like Norway, electric cars are not yet that widespread. This is due to historical and technical reasons that have made and still partly make the internal combustion engine – powered by oil, diesel or gas – more practical and convenient.

So how Norway pulled that off? With a series of big incentives like free battery charging solutions, free parking, use of preferential lanes reserved for public transport, no motorway tolls, access to historic centers, exemption from VAT at 25% (which is charged on other car’s models) and in some cases the surcharge applied to other vehicles (which can even reach 100%).

To all these incentives, another – equally important – should be added: the social status. Having the electric car is fashionable, trendy. Furthermore, buying an electric vehicle is considered by many to be the right thing to do — for both our children and our planet’s long-term health.

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Nickel is one of the metals with the most upside potential

To the surprise of no one, gold was selected by the LME Week audience as one of the two metals with the most upside potential going into 2020 (27% of the votes) during the last London Metal Exchange Week. The other one was nickel, which is used to create lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Nickel is benefitting from concerns about tight supply.

For its part copper, which is experiencing a rough time because of the trade war, came in third place with 23%. Global trade tensions are hitting metals harder than expected, as Bloomberg states. In fact, most base metals have been declined since last year’s LME Week.

Mark Hansen, top manager at Concord Resources, paints quite a bleak picture for the metals industry. According to the chief executive officer of the metals trader, overall there’s “a no-growth picture for the commodity markets for the foreseeable future.” This is because the everlasting trade war “has dragged on now so long that it is impacting people’s willingness to make investments and have confidence in the foreseeable future.”

Most base metals have declined since LME Week 2018