Zambia to consider hybrid era in its strategy as top copper producer


Zambia ought to consider cashing in from the onset of the hybrid era as the top copper producer in Africa. Dr Albert Muchanga, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry at the African Union said that capitalizing on gains once electric cars are eventually introduced onto the African continent will serve as an added advantage to the country.

Dr. Muchanga’s sentiments are in line with a statement issued by First Secretary Press Kellys Kaunda on the side-lines of a high-level German-Africa Business day. According to reports from the conference, electric car ranges are set to increase as more and more companies and governments move to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. There are also indications that there is need to expand the battery life and output of these cars in order to both contend with and surpass gas-powered vehicles.

Meanwhile, reports have it that leading vehicle manufacturing nations in Europe have decided to forego diesel and petrol engines for electric ones. According to the same report, this will likely mark the single biggest technological leap since the introduction of the internal combustion engine by Nikolaus Otto in 1876.

Gas ban

German and French governments have voted to ban diesel and petrol-powered vehicles in 10 years. This is according to one report. Consequently, Germany is thus offering subsidies valued at US $1.4Bn to manufacturers on a first-come-first served basis. Similarly, Norway is offering consumers a subsidy of US $4693.18 when buying an electric vehicle until 2020.

It has also done reportedly well with 32.5% of cars on the road being either Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) or Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV). They intend to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025.

What’s more, the growing number of electric vehicles hitting roads is set to fuel a significant increase in copper demand from the sector over the coming decade. This is according to an industry report released earlier on this week.

Moreover, there is projected increase in demand for hybrid cars. A report by consultancy IDTechEx, commissioned by the International Copper Association (ICA) goes on to add that this is good news for copper countries. The firm’s Senior Technology Analyst Franco Gonzalez said that the aforementioned increase will raise copper demand for electric cars and buses from 185,000 tonnes in 2017 to 1.74m tonnes in 2027.

As such, countries like Zambia could gain from this surge once value addition is executed  This is due to the fact that electric vehicles use a substantial amount of copper in their batteries as well as  in the windings and copper rotors used in electric motors. In essence, a single car can have up to six kilometers of copper wiring, according to the ICA.

Now, with the global market for copper being around 23.9m tonnes, according to the International Copper Study Group, it is possible that electric vehicles account for about 6% of global copper demand in ten years. This, according to an analyst, will be a significant increase from this year’s percentage which currently stands at less than 1%.




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