American electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, Tesla, has reportedly begun discussions with both Vale and an Indonesian supplier to set up a nickel supply chain for its lithium-ion batteries.
According to media reports, Tesla has steadily increased the nickel content in its EV batteries to 80pc. The carmaker’s latest NCM 811 battery is driving demand for nickel higher, to a forecasted deficit of 40,000mt by the end of the year, market participants indicated.
Since Brazil and Indonesia are two large sources of the metal, Tesla intends to capitalize on the availability of the metal from these producers at present. Reports have also predicted a rise in nickel demand to between 1.4-1.8mn mt by 2030 due to the EV industry’s consumption. Vale’s position after its failure to sell the New Caledonia mine to New Century Resource remains unknown. However, this latest development could create an incentive for the former to increase its investment in the French island factory.