Modern technologies in the automotive industry are increasingly turning to silver, and today we can already talk about the emergence of another powerful sector in demand with an annual consumption of 88 million ounces (2,737 tons) of silver by 2025, according to the Metals Focus survey.
Until recently, the demand for silver in the automotive industry remained largely overlooked. Nevertheless, the precious metal has played an important role here for many decades.
In the early days of automobile production, the use of silver was relatively limited and was used as a connector for power circuits in batteries and generators. And also in switches for controlling basic electrical devices: headlights, wipers, heating and radio controls. The use of silver increased markedly from about the 1960s to the 1980s with the proliferation and installation of air conditioning in vehicles.
In today’s world, when the rapid development of semiconductor technology has led to the introduction of sophisticated modules for its safe driving, consisting of many electronic components and control units, in every car, the use of silver is critical. In particular, for electronic control units (ECU).
In fact, these are microcomputers that analyze data, control parameters and perform specific and specific functions in the car.
With the increasing complexity of such car control systems, they require more and more precious metals, which greatly contributes to the growth of demand for silver, and its alloys.
Silver use in the medium-sized passenger car (LV) has gradually increased over the past four to five decades, but the bulk of the growth has been concentrated in the past 20 years. This reflects two key characteristics of silver of all metals: its unique properties – the highest thermal and electrical conductivity – and its widespread availability.
At the same time, taking into account all the areas of application of silver, a relatively small amount is used in each specific car. While they vary greatly across vehicle types and across markets, Metals Focus studies show that a single combustion engine vehicle consumes between 0.5 and 0.9 ounces (15-28 grams), and hybrid and then electric vehicles, the LV indicator is significantly higher.
This may sound extremely modest, but it is worth noting that in 2021 the global production of passenger cars is expected to be around 85 million units, which means that the demand for silver in the automotive industry in 2021 will be in the order of 61 million ounces (1,900 tons). …
Upon closer examination of the problem, Metals Focus experts came to the conclusion that with the development of electric vehicles, the consumption of silver per car will grow 1.6-2.2 times compared to a car with a conventional internal combustion engine.
“If we go further and think about self-driving cars, we will see further growth in demand for silver due to the increase in the complexity of systems,” experts say.
According to Metals Focus and the Silver Institute, the total global demand for silver at the end of 2020 is expected to be 930.9 million ounces (28.954 thousand tons), which is 6% less than in 2019. Of the total, industrial demand is estimated at 466.5 Moz, down 9% from the previous year.
That being said, global demand for silver in the automotive industry last year was about 50 million ounces (1,555 tonnes), up from over 58 million ounces (1,800 tonnes) in 2019, reflecting the short-term damage to all consumer sectors from the COVID-19 pandemic. …
“Looking ahead, given these arguments, we forecast continuous growth in silver consumption over the next five years, with demand for the metal in the automotive industry approaching 88 million ounces (2,737 tonnes) by 2025. the automotive industry can catch up with its use in the production of photovoltaic systems. This will be a significant event for the global industrial demand for silver and, as a result, for the entire world silver market, “- the experts summarize.
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