The end of the palladium era

The end of the palladium era

30 November 2021 from Anna Svahn

After rushing several hundred percent since 2016, it's time for the precious metal palladium to take a step aside for a more sustainable player in the market. This means that the top of the petrol car catalytic converter is limited, with a substantial drop height as a risk.

Before the diesel scandal in 2014, diesel cars accounted for 53 percent of all cars sold in Europe. In 2019, that figure was 32 percent, in August 2021, only 20 percent of all passenger cars sold had a diesel engine, and for the first time, more electric cars were sold than diesel.

When the demand for diesel cars fell overnight, large parts of the demand for platinum also disappeared. Just over 40 percent of the production of all platinum goes to catalysts in diesel engines, which explains why the diesel scandal has become so important for the price of platinum.

At the same time as sales of diesel cars fell, instead the demand for petrol cars increased markedly and the price of palladium used as a catalyst in petrol cars rose by several hundred percent in just a few years, while the price of platinum is still 30 percent lower than around the peak in 2014.

Palladium and Platinum

Now petrol cars are challenged in the market when the world once and for all shifts from vehicles powered by fossil fuels to electric cars.

After 2014, the proportion of petrol cars sold rose to 57.8 per cent in Europe, at most in 2019, before falling back to 47.5 per cent last year, while electric cars (battery and hybrid combined) rose to a total of 22.4 per cent and now it is increasing even faster. During the first half of 2021, 35.2 percent of all cars sold were electric cars or hybrids, and diesel had slipped down to 20 percent and gasoline to 41.8 percent.

Europe is a world leader in the proportion of electric or hybrid cars sold, but also shows what the future will look like in the US and China, where the proportion of cars sold today is significantly lower than in Europe, which reduces the global total share of electric cars.

So there is much to suggest that the heyday of palladium and platinum is passing (at least as a catalyst in engines), and another metal could take up more and more space in the future – aluminum?

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04/10/2022 19:18:30


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