Electric Vehicles

Copper In Electrical Vehicles graphic
Copper is an essential material component of electric vehicles (EVs). It is used in the electric motors, batteries, inverters, wiring and in charging stations because of its durability, malleability, reliability and superior electrical conductivity.

Copper's Role in EVs

An EV can use between 85 and 183 pounds of copper and hybrid and electric buses can contain between 183 and 814 pounds.

Bar Chart with pounds of copper used in various EVs

Copper is also an indispensable component of the infrastructure needed to support electric vehicle charging. To power the EVs of both today and tomorrow, a network of five million charging ports will be needed within the next decade.

Benefits of Electrical Transportation

  • Reduced Pollution
    The transportation sector is now the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. The continued integration of EVs will help reduce this impact because they produce 54 percent less carbon dioxide emissions per mile than a conventional vehicle.
  • Cost Savings
    EV batteries convert 59 to 62 percent of energy into vehicle movement while gas powered vehicles use 17 and 21 percent. EV drivers spend about $1.2 per gallon to charge, less than half the price of gasoline. The average operating cost of an EV is $485 annually compared to $1,117 for a conventional vehicle.
  • Economic Growth
    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in 2017, the U.S. imported 19 percent of the petroleum it used. Using Electric Vehicles can reduce our energy dependency abroad and support the U.S. economy through the generation of new jobs, particularly in skilled electrical trades.

EV Trends and Developments

  • Increased Sales
    Consumers are demonstrating strong interest in EVs and increasing demand. EVs accounted for only 1.3 percent of total vehicles sold in the U.S in 2017. By third quarter 2018, that had nearly doubled to 2.5 percent; hitting 3 percent by the fourth quarter.
Chart showing EV Model Availability in North America
  • Proactive State Policies
    States continue to raise clean energy goals with states like California, New Jersey, and New York setting a number of new, ambitious targets and regulations. However, Not all state-news is positive, as some made plans in 2018 to scale back net energy metering or renewable energy credit programs.
  • Support from Large Corporations
    In 2019, companies like IKEA, HP and Unilever promised to ramp up integration of electric vehicles into their corporate fleets and to assist employees in transitioning to cleaner transportation.


Case Studies


On the Road with Ricardo and Cars That Think
Global engineering provider Ricardo is behind vehicles that help businesses grow, improve air quality at airports, and even drive you to work while you relax and read the morning paper.
Copper Delivers Energy, Power and Speed
This video shows how a copper rotor can improve the performance of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles with examples of companies using this technology.
Copper Improves the Performance of Induction Motors
As automotive manufacturers view their options for reducing fuel consumption and emissions, electrical propulsion becomes more attractive. Historically, internal permanent magnet (IPM) motors have been a popular motor design.
The Value of Using Cast Copper Induction Motors in Hybrid and Plug-in Electric Vehicles
The Copper Development Association recommends the copper induction motor over the permanent magnet motor when choosing an electric motor for a Hybrid (HEV) or Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) electric vehicle.
Making a Good Thing Better
While major automakers have received lots of attention for their hybrid and electric vehicles, a couple of Michigan companies have quietly achieved success selling after-market systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
Copper Is on Board as 2011 Detroit Auto Show Electrifies Visitors
The 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit was electrifying for copper stakeholders. Get the latest from automotive heads, show visitors and the media.
Automakers Face Challenges on the Road to Electrification
There seem to be as many opinions on the electric evolution currently underway in the automotive industry as there are experts. What seems clear is that, ultimately, the move toward vehicle electrification is going to have a positive impact on the copper industry.
FEV: Putting Electrification to the Test
Gary Rogers, Chief Executive Officer and President of FEV, Inc., talks about the company's beginnings and its unique role in the evolution of the automotive industry toward vehicle electrification. Several key projects developed in the company's North American Technical Center are highlighted.
AVL and Electrification: A Discussion With Jerry Klarr
Jerry Klarr, Director of Hybrid Programs at AVL, recently took time out of his schedule to discuss the company's role in vehicle electrification and the important role of copper in new automotive technologies.
Copper Applications in Electrical: Electric Vehicles
Electric and hybrid electric vehicles have reached a new level of development with introductions by Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota. Because an electric motor is used as the primary propulsion source, these vehicles will have a much higher copper content than a conventional vehicle which currently averages about 55 pounds of copper and copper alloys.