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Every fifth car sold globally is already electric – new material needs offer Finland possibilities for growth

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates in a recent report that 17 million electric cars will be sold in 2024.


13. May 2024

A new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) can be summarized in one sentence: Theworld craves more electric cars.

Global EV Outlook 2024 report shows that almost 14 million electric cars were sold worldwide in 2023, amounting to 18 percent of all vehicles sold. Compared to 2022, sales of electric cars increased by 35 percent in 2023.

IEA forecasts that the number of electric cars sold will increase to 17 million in 2024, meaning that their share in total car sales worldwide will reach more than one-fifth.

Among large markets, China has been a trailblazer in traffic electrification. According to IEA estimates, 45 percent of all cars sold in China in 2024 will be electric. In Europe, the share is approximately 25 percent, and in the U.S., around 11 percent. Finland’s neighbors have been particularly quick with electrification since 60 percent of cars sold in Sweden and almost 95 percent of cars sold in Norway in 2023 were electric. According to a review by Sähköinen liikenne ry, the share in Finland was 54 percent in 2023.

“Electric car sales in 2023 were 3.5 million higher than in 2022. The share of electric cars in overall car sales is expected to grow rapidly everywhere. The demand for EV materials is high in Europe alone, which is one of the world's leading markets in traffic electrification,” summarizes Matti Hietanen, CEO of the Finnish Minerals Group.

Almost 90% of cathode material is made in China – Europe could produce more battery materials

Battery manufacturing and the production of battery materials are major emerging industries due to the increasing number of electric cars. In Europe, there is an urge to quickly develop mining and processing operations so that supply chains can cope with possible disruptions. There should not be bottlenecks in electric car production.

According to IEA, EV battery production is primarily located close to car factories. However, Europe needs to import 20 percent of its batteries and the U.S. 30 percent of its batteries outside their respective continents.

Regarding newly produced electric car batteries, Europe has reached a production capacity of 110 GWh, corresponding to the demand for 2.5 million electric cars annually. Germany leads the European countries in electric car manufacturing.

“Battery cell production has started to develop reasonably quickly in Europe. Considering economic growth and the security of supply, we need to take account of the materials needed for battery manufacturing. Outside China, only South Korea and Japan currently have a proper capacity to produce cathode,” Matti Hietanen notes.

Two plants would generate over EUR 200 million in tax revenue annually – the battery industry could strengthen the Finnish economy

Finnish Minerals Group is currently developing a Finnish mining and processing business in multiple areas of the battery value chain in cooperation with its partners. Transparent and responsible European mining operations are developed in the projects of Keliber and Sokli. Terrafame already operates in the mining and processing industry, producing nickel and cobalt sulphates used in the production of batteries, among other things.

The planned CNGR Finland plant in Hamina would produce precursor material, which is a preliminary stage of cathode active material. Cathode active material would then be produced in the Kotka plant, by processing precursor and lithium. There is also an anode material plant under development in Vaasa and a possible battery cell plant under development in Kotka.

According to regional economic assessment of the Hamina precursor plant and Kotka cathode plant projects, these two plants alone, when operational, would generate an estimated EUR 214 million in new tax revenue annually in Finland and directly employ an estimated 630 person-years. With the capacity examined, they would increase Finland's GDP by almost half a billion euros. The effects during construction would also be significant.

“The battery materials industry has the potential to become a foundation of the Finnish economy, comparable with, for example, the forest industry. We have an excellent opportunity to develop a traceable and transparent battery value chain with products that would interest the leading electric car manufacturers. Developing the materials and mining industries will increase the processing degree of our production and the value of our exports”, says Hietanen.


The mission of Finnish Minerals Group is to responsibly maximise the value of Finnish minerals. We manage the State’s mining industry shareholdings and strive to develop the Finnish value chain of lithium-ion batteries. Through our work, we contribute to Europe moving towards electric transport and a more sustainable future.