LONDON/JOHANNESBURG — The world’s top platinum and palladium supplier has an answer to the electric-vehicle boom that may pose a long-term threat to its biggest market: Invent a new battery.
Anglo American Platinum wants to develop a lithium battery that uses platinum-group metals instead of cobalt and nickel. The aim is to create a new multi-billion dollar source of demand for the metals as electric vehicles reduce the need for traditional fuel catalytic converters.
Platinum miners have good reason to be worried. Electric-car sales are forecast to reach 56 million by 2040, making up about 57 percent of the overall car market versus 2 percent now, according to Bloomberg. That could curb demand for catalytic converters, which use platinum and palladium to clean toxic emissions. Platinum is already under pressure — prices are near a decade-low as drivers turn away from diesel engines and supplies remain ample.
“Platinum could play a big role in batteries, but we need to thrift…