With gasoline prices staying stubbornly high, the number of hybrid and electric cars manufactured is soaring skyward. Toyota Motors (NYSE:TM) is far and away the biggest beneficiary as the world's largest manufacturer of hybrid cars with its Prius family that now extends to five models. Nissan Motors (OTCPK:NSANY) is expected to complete construction of a Tennessee plant that will produce 150,000 all-electric Leafs a year in 2014.
Beyond these obvious beneficiaries it gets a little more complicated. I found this interesting table from the QVM Group that listed the impact that electric cars, which will soon be produced at one million units a year, will have on the supply and demand for raw materials. Here are my comments:
Aluminum (NYSE:AA): Lighter cars need more aluminum for bodies
Coal (NYSEARCA:KOL): Greater electricity needs increase demand from this cheapest of sources.
Copper (NASDAQ:CU): Big increase in demand for copper wire from electric motors and the grid.
Corn (NYSEARCA:CORN): Kiss the pork barrel ethanol program goodbye. Demand falls.
Natural Gas (NYSEARCA:UNG): Some 100% of new power generation facilities are gas fueled.
Lead: Older technology batteries still use lots of lead.
Lithium (NYSE:SQM): You can't lose. If electric car demand doesn't kick in, then fertilizer demand will.
Nickel: The same batteries use nickel
Oil (NYSEARCA:USO): Some analysts think gasoline demand could drop by 50% by 2020 because of electric cars, mileage improvements in conventional cars, and the discovery of huge new fields in the US with fracking technology.
Platinum (NYSEARCA:PPLT): Demand falls from fewer catalytic converters, but this will be offset by growing monetary demand for the white metal.
Uranium (NYSEARCA:NLR) : More power demand means more nukes everywhere.
Zinc: Battery demand again