Stainless Steel Prices and the Electric Car

The electric car has been around for a while but popularity is increasing as the technology improves. This growth in demand is expected to increase the price of stainless steel and experts here at BS Stainless are keeping an extra close eye on several factors of the industry.

Popular grades of stainless steel are often referred to as 18/8. This name is derived from the chemical composition of stainless steel which is around 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Though a small amount, that 8% nickel is of particular importance.

Stainless steel pricing has two key drivers that affect it, namely the current demand and the price of nickel, a metal that is traded daily on the LME. The demand will grow as more electric cars are produced as these vehicles run on ‘lithium’ batteries, which contain nickel as a key component. Increased demand means increased cost of nickel and so the price of stainless steel will also increase.

The role of nickel in lithium-ion batteries has not been fully appreciated but the metal’s importance was highlighted recently by Elon Musk, Tesla CEO and co-founder. He said, “Our cells should be called Nickel-Graphite, because primarily the cathode is nickel and the anode side is graphite with silicon oxide”.

Measured by mass, nickel is the most important metal in the lithium-ion battery cathodes, accounting for about 80% of an NCA cathode and around 33% of NMC cathodes. As battery formulations evolve, it is likely that more nickel will be used in them, further increasing demand.

As an independent supplier of a complete range of stainless steel material and components, the price of the metals used to make it is obviously of great importance to us. We will always deliver the most competitive price to our customers as the market changes and will keep customers fully informed of developments.

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