Working Paper
The electric vehicle revolution

Economic and policy implications for natural resource exporters in developing countries

The emergence of a mass market for electric vehicles (EVs) offers considerable development opportunities for resource exporters, given their intensive raw material requirements, including for cobalt, nickel, lithium, copper, aluminium, and manganese.

To exploit the benefits of new demand, empirical evidence on the ‘resource curse’ increasingly points to the benefits of strengthening institutions for effective policy management and to mitigate the risk of poorly directed, often excessively procyclical, investment. With many developing countries staking major claims for expanding domestic electric vehicle raw material industries, these issues appear highly pertinent, not least given their complexity, opacity, and volatility.

This paper analyses both the outlook for electric vehicle demand and associated raw material usage, as well as the key drivers and sensitivities required to track future market transformation. It subsequently assesses key fiscal, regulatory, and institutional reform priorities and market barriers bearing on successful domestic resource mobilization in these resource chains.