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2019 Cobalt Consumption Ranking Sees Chinese Battery Maker CATL Consuming 21% of Global Cobalt Supply

published: 2020-03-16 18:30

One of the most important and costliest raw materials in electric vehicles, or EVs, is cobalt, a type of heavy metal. Year 2019 saw the rapid growth of EVs, with a corresponding surge in battery manufacturers’ demand for cobalt, as five of the manufacturers expended 78% of the global cobalt supply. CATL ranks first.

We have been keeping a close eye on the topics of cobalt consumption and the battery war since late-2019. According to a recent report by battery research institute Adamas Intelligence, cobalt consumption last year showed an oligopolistic concentration, with Chinese companies CATL and BYD being of particular interest. The following table shows the top five global cobalt buyers, ranked by their cobalt consumption:


Consumption Share

Quantity (Tons)

1.      CATL



2.      LG Chem



3.      Panasonic



4.      BYD



5.      Samsung SDI



CATL surpassed the previous year’s leader LG Chem and reached first place, while BYD entered top five for the first time, in turn demonstrating the continuing growth of the Chinese EV battery market. The five companies consumed 78% of the world’s cobalt supply, a 9% YoY growth compared to 69% the previous year. Bluntly stated, whoever holds the controlling share of cobalt holds the key to winning the war for battery supremacy.

Interestingly, regarding the consumption of nickel, which is another important feedstock in EV manufacturing, Panasonic took first place with 51% of global nickel consumption. CATL and LG Chem ranked second and third with 15% and 12% consumed, respectively. About 60% of Panasonic’s stock of nickel is used for NCA batteries in Tesla vehicles, while 39% is used for NiMH batteries in Toyota’s hybrid cars.

The fact that Tesla uses NCA batteries, and Chinese EV manufacturers use NCM batteries means there exists a significant difference between their nickel consumption levels. But all EV manufacturers are currently considering adopting primarily cobalt-free batteries in their upcoming lineups to reduce battery costs and ensure the profitability of EVs.

Before next-generation technology becomes viable and adoptable, cobalt remains the key determinant in the war for battery supremacy.

(News Source:TechNews。Image:LG Chem

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