What Precious Metals Are Used in Electric Cars?

Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular as more people look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels. While most of these vehicles are powered by lithium-ion batteries, many also rely on precious metals such as copper, palladium, and graphite to work correctly. Here is a closer look at the precious metals commonly found in electric cars and their roles.

What Precious Metals Are Used in Electric Cars?

  1. Platinum:
    • Catalytic converters
    • Fuel cells
  2. Palladium:
    • Catalytic converters
    • Fuel cells
  3. Rhodium:
    • Catalytic converters
  4. Silver:
    • Electrical contacts and switches
    • Batteries
  5. Gold:
    • Electrical contacts and switches
  6. Copper:
    • Wiring and electrical components
  7. Nickel:
    • Batteries
  8. Cobalt:
    • Batteries

Copper as Precious Metal in electric cars

Copper is one of the most essential materials in electric vehicles, often making up 10-25% of their total weight. It’s used for wiring and other electrical components due to its excellent electrical conductivity, which helps transfer electricity within the car efficiently. Copper is also resistant to corrosion and can be recycled after its use.


Copper has been an essential component in the manufacturing of electric cars across the globe. Copper is a widely used metal as it has excellent electrical conductivity and is relatively cheaper than other metals. In addition, copper is not only ductile and malleable but also corrosion-resistant, making it an ideal material for the wiring and electrical components in electric cars.

In electric cars, copper is mainly used to manufacture electrical wires and cables. Electrical wires carry the current from the battery to various electrical components in the vehicle, such as motors, inverters, and electronic systems. Copper wires are preferred in electric vehicles as they can carry more electric current than any other metal. In addition, copper wires possess excellent electrical conductivity that allows the current to flow efficiently from the battery to the motor, assisting in generating motion.

Not only do copper wires have better electrical conductivity, but they are also beneficial to the energy efficiency of the motors in electric cars. Electric motors work by converting electrical energy into motion. When the electrical energy flows through the engine, it creates a magnetic field that interacts with the magnets, generating motion. Copper wires in electric motors assist in achieving this magnetic field by providing a low-resistance pathway for the electrical energy to flow. In addition, the low resistance offered by copper cables reduces the energy loss of the electrical current, making electric motors more efficient and less taxing on the batteries.

Copper is the most effective material in electrical conductivity and is widely used in the production of electric motors and electrical components. Copper is also essential in electric cars’ charging systems, where it is used in charging cords and plugs. Copper charging cords and plugs have low resistance, allowing electricity to flow efficiently from the charging station to the battery, resulting in faster charging times.

Moreover, copper has an exceptional ability to serve as an electromagnetic shield. For example, in electric cars, copper wires can be wrapped around electronic components to protect them from electromagnetic interference; this ensures the stability of the electrical system.

Another advantage of copper is that it is environmentally friendly, making it the ideal material for use in electric cars. Copper is recyclable, and it is a renewable resource. Its durability means that copper parts can be used repeatedly without deteriorating. Recycling copper ensures that none of the metal is wasted after its useful life in cars is over, reducing the carbon footprint of electric vehicles.


Palladium as Precious Metal in electric cars

Palladium is another metal used in electric cars due to its unique properties. It’s often found in catalytic converters, where it acts as an oxidizing agent when combined with oxygen from the air intake system. This allows the car to reduce emissions by breaking down nitrogen oxides into nitrogen and oxygen molecules before they enter the atmosphere.

palladium precious metal

Palladium is a precious metal widely used in the automotive industry for catalytic converters and fuel cells in electric vehicles. This versatile metal is highly valued for its durability, efficiency, and ability to reduce harmful emissions. In this article, we will delve deeper into how palladium is used in electric cars and why it is a crucial component in modern vehicle technology.

Catalytic Converters in Electric Cars:

Catalytic converters are essential components of modern vehicles, including electric cars. The primary function of a catalytic converter is to convert harmful emissions from an internal combustion engine into less harmful ones that can be safely released into the environment. Palladium is the most commonly used material in catalytic converters, accounting for almost three-quarters of the total palladium consumed globally. Palladium effectively converts harmful pollutants, including carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxide, to less toxic substances, such as water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen.

Catalytic converters consist of a honeycomb structure coated with a thin palladium layer. Exhaust gases pass through the honeycomb structure and come into contact with the palladium. As a result, the chemical reaction between the harmful pollutants and palladium produces less toxic substances, which are then released into the environment.

Using palladium in catalytic converters has significantly reduced harmful emissions from vehicles. Regulations in many parts of the world require new vehicles to install catalytic converters. As the world shifts towards electric cars, the role of palladium in reducing emissions will only increase.

Fuel Cells in Electric Cars:

Fuel cells are another application of palladium in electric cars. Fuel cells generate electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen to produce water and electricity. Palladium is a catalyst material in fuel cells, specifically in the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). The role of palladium in fuel cells is to increase the rate of the hydrogen reduction reaction, which is essential for generating electricity.

Palladium acts as a catalyst in the PEMFC by facilitating the transfer of protons and electrons between the electrodes. This reaction creates an electrical current that can be used to power an electric motor.

Fuel cells are a promising technology for electric cars, as they offer several advantages over batteries, including more extended range, faster refueling, and more reliable performance in extreme weather conditions. The use of palladium in fuel cells is crucial to their operation. As the technology becomes more widespread, the demand for palladium in the automotive industry will continue to grow.

Rhodium as Precious Metal in electric cars

In today’s world, the widespread use of automobiles has significantly diminished air quality, leading to increased global warming and various health issues. Therefore, the automobile industry is constantly exploring ways to reduce the environmental impact of their vehicles. One way to achieve this is by incorporating catalytic converters in automobiles. Catalytic converters filter automobile exhaust gases, converting harmful pollutants into less toxic substances. Rhodium in electric car catalytic converters plays a vital role in minimizing the emission of hazardous pollutants.


Rhodium is a rare and precious metal belonging to the platinum elements. It is an ideal element for catalytic converters due to its high melting point, stability, and unique catalytic properties. In addition, with its ability to convert significant amounts of pollutants into less harmful compounds, Rhodium is widely used in electric car catalytic converters to reduce emissions.

Electrical catalytic converters break down harmful gases emitted from the vehicle’s exhaust system, converting toxic pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons into inert gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water. Rhodium plays a crucial role in the process by promoting the oxidation of these poisonous gases.

Rhodium catalytic converters come in two types: reduced diatomic Rhodium catalysts and monolithic Rhodium catalysts. The reduced diatomic Rhodium catalysts are made by mixing Rhodium with noble metals like palladium and platinum. Combining these elements results in a more active catalyst that is stable enough to withstand high temperatures. On the other hand, monolithic Rhodium catalysts are more prevalent nowadays, as they offer a better solution to the problems of the reduced diatomic Rhodium catalysts.

In a monolithic Rhodium catalyst, the Rhodium is integrated into a honeycomb-shaped ceramic structure, which acts as a support system and enhances Rhodium’s catalytic properties. The honeycomb design of the ceramic provides a large surface area that promotes gas flow through the converter. This, in turn, ensures that the maximum amount of harmful gases are transformed into benign substances.

Rhodium plays a crucial rolis harmful pollutants produced by vehicles, particularly in electric cars. Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, electric cars have no tailpipe emissions, providing cleaner air and reducing air pollution. Therefore, rhodium catalytic converters in electric cars form an essential element that ensures these vehicles remain environmentally friendly.

Furthermore, the wide use of Rhodium in electric car catalytic converters has led to a surge in demand for this precious metal. In 2020, the price of Rhodium had increased by over 200%, with projections that it would continue to rise. The high demand for Rhodium has sparked research into alternative catalysts to Rhodium, such as cerium, iron oxide, and nickel oxide, which are also used in catalytic converters.

Silver and Gold as Precious Metals in electric cars

Silver, a shiny, lustrous, and ductile metal, is one of humankind’s most versatile and precious metals. It has found diverse applications ranging from jewelry making to electrical circuit photography to antibacterial agents in healthcare. Silver is also an essential component in the making of electric cars. Besides being used in electrical contacts and switches, silver is also used in batteries, making it an indispensable element in electric vehicles.

silver precious metal

Electric cars have been deemed the future of the automobile industry due to their eco-friendliness, cost-effectiveness, and reduced carbon footprint. These cars are powered by electrical energy stored in rechargeable batteries. Electric vehicles require high conductivity, reliability, and resistance to corrosion in electrical contacts and switches. In this regard, silver emerges as the go-to option to satisfy these requirements.

One of the main reasons why silver and gold are chosen for electrical contacts and switches in electric carstheir its high electrical conductivity. This characteristic enables quick and efficient transfer of electrical energy, which is a necessary component in the functioning of electric vehicles. Additionally, silver exhibits excellent thermal conductivity, which means that heat generated during the transfer of electrical energy can be dissipated efficiently, reducing the risk of overheating.

Silver-coated contacts and switches are much more reliable as they have a lower failure rate due to wear and tear than other materials like copper, which is prone to corrosion. Furthermore, silver coatings on switches and contacts have a longer lifespan, thus reducing the frequency of replacement and minimizing costs.

In addition to electrical contacts and switches, Silver is also an essential element in batteries, the most vital component, making it one of the key contributors to the success of electric cars. Silver connects the anode and cathode of the storm, forming a solid electrical connection that enhances battery efficiency. This allows batteries to store more energy, allowing electric cars to travel longer distances without recharging. It is also used in contacts, as conductive pastes for connecting the cell tabs, wire bonding, and in various other applications.

Silver has emerged as a critical component in the development of electric cars as it meets the criteria of high conductivity, reliability, and resistance to corrosion, making them the ideal choice for electric contacts and switches. In addition, using silver in batteries enables them to store more energy, allowing these cars to cover more distance than ever before. As the world moves towards a cleaner and more sustainable future, silver will continue to play a significant role in revolutionizing the automobile industry, bringing us closer to a healthier and thriving planet.


As more people turn towards electric cars as an alternative source of transportation, understanding the different precious metals used within them becomes increasingly important. Knowing what materials go into making these vehicles helps us understand how they work and how we can better recycle them once their useful lifespan has ended.

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Igor has been a trader since 2007. Currently, Igor works for several prop trading companies. He is an expert in financial niche, long-term trading, and weekly technical levels. The primary field of Igor's research is the application of machine learning in algorithmic trading. Education: Computer Engineering and Ph.D. in machine learning. Igor regularly publishes trading-related videos on the Fxigor Youtube channel. To contact Igor write on: igor@forex.in.rs

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