1st Edition

Electric Cars and the Resource Challenge

By Theo Henckens Copyright 2025
    156 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is the first to fully explore the short- and long-term impact of the global electric car rollout on the supply of raw materials.

    The world has gone from zero to almost 1.5 billion fossil fuel cars in circulation today, contributing significantly to the global climate crisis and necessitating a total transition to electric vehicles in the coming decades. This book responds to key questions surrounding the increase of electric car usage, such as will there be sufficient resources available to permanently supply a future world population of ten billion with electric cars? What is the risk that the supply of essential raw materials will be hampered by geopolitical problems, or that mining capacity cannot be quickly scaled up? How does the recycling of scrap cars impact the switch from fossil fuel vehicles to electric cars? It contains detailed information about the material composition of electric and fossil fuel cars in relation to stocks and relative scarcity of corresponding materials in the earth’s crust, and estimates the ultimate annual consumption of metals based on predicted population growth.

    This book is an important tool for decision-makers in national ministries and international bodies, highlighting how to adopt a global long-term raw materials policy to protect the interests of future generations and global fairness. It provides necessary forecasting insight to industry leaders and specialists, policymakers and researchers.

    1. Toward electric driving in a fair world

    2. Protecting climate and resources: An inconvenient combination 

    3. The electric car and the energy transition: Synergy or conflict?

    4. Sensitivity analysis

    5. Five critical metals in electric cars: A closer look

       5.1 Copper: Aorta of the energy transition           

       5.2 Lithium lakes  

       5.3 Cobalt from Congo: A story of winners and losers    

       5.4 War on the nickel exchange    

       5.5 Greenland and its rare earths are not for sale  

    6. Car recycling: The circular economy in practice   

    7. The market in service of fair resource management          



    Theo Henckens (PhD) has been an international advisor to governments and companies with regards to environment and water management. Between 2013 and 2024 Henckens was a Research Fellow at the Copernicus Institute of Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He has published extensively in the field of scarce raw materials.