Elon Musk says EVs To Drive Increased Demand for Nuclear/Uranium

February 07, 2021 EST

Global sales of electric vehicles (EVs) grew from 110,000 in 2012 to 4.70 million in 2019.[1]  Additionally, the global fleet of EVs is expected to grow from 13 million in 2020 to over 127 million by 2030.[2]  This increase may increase demand for electricity which may spur increased demand for uranium.  Why?

EV Sales May Double the Demand for Electricity

EV industry executive Elon Musk, in an interview in Germany, stated that “electricity demand will likely double over the next two decades as a result of the update of electric vehicles.”[3]   This does not take into account increased demand that may result from other sources such as increased population, growing reliance on digital services, etc.

Mr. Musk went on to note that sourcing the energy necessary to power EVs has the potential to become the biggest obstacle over the next two decades.

To meet this demand, Musk added that “to do this, we have to increase the capacities of wind, solar, and nuclear power plants.”  However, given that the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine, he noted that nuclear power might be necessary to meet tomorrow’s need for electricity.

World Nuclear Association Concurs

An article published by the World Nuclear Association (WNA) notes predictions that global electricity consumption from EVs will reach 928 TWh by 2030.[4] [5]  Under this scenario, if all of the additional demand was to be met by nuclear energy, 25 additional nuclear reactors would need to be built.

The WNA noted that the nuclear energy industry could respond by anticipating the electrification of transport to ensure that nuclear power is positioned with renewables as the clean energy source to power EVs and support charging stations.  For example, on-road charging could make transport routes a prime source for small nuclear reactors.

Which May Lead to Increased Demand for Uranium

Uranium is the main ingredient needed to produce nuclear energy.  Anything that increases demand for nuclear energy also has the potential to increase demand for uranium.

If projections for growth in sales of EVs and an increase in the EV fleet pan out, it is likely that more nuclear power may be necessary to meet the increase in demand for electricity.  This is potentially advantageous for uranium demand and, ultimately, prices of uranium and the stocks of companies that mine uranium.

How may investors gain exposure to uranium and uranium miners?

The North Shore Global Uranium Mining ETF (URNM)

The North Shore Global Uranium Mining ETF (URNM) seeks to provide investment results that, before fees and expenses, correspond generally to the total return performance of the North Shore Global Uranium Mining Index (the index).

By seeking to replicate the index, URNM looks to provide investors with access to both miners and holders of uranium.

 


[1] Worldwide Number of Battery Electric Vehicles In Use From 2012 to 2019, Statista, 2020

[2] Projected Size of the Global Electric Vehicle Fleet Between 2020 and 2030, Statista, 2020

[3] Uranium Week: Nuclear’s Role in Electric Vehicles, FNArena, 12/8/20

[4] Electric Vehicles and Opportunities for Nuclear Energy, World Nuclear News, 9/07/19

[5] TeraWatt hour, a measure of electric consumption

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Shares are bought and sold at market price (not NAV) and are not individually redeemed from the Fund. Brokerage commissions will reduce returns. Beginning July 10, 2020, market price returns are based on the official closing price of an ETF share or, if the official closing price isn't available, the midpoint between the national best bid and national best offer (“NBBO”) as of the time the ETF calculates current NAV per share. Prior to July 10, 2020, market price returns were based on the midpoint between the Bid and Ask price. NAVs are calculated using prices as of 4:00 PM Eastern Time. The returns shown do not represent the returns you would receive if you traded shares at other times.

Commodity prices may be influenced or characterized by unpredictable factors, including high volatility, changes in supply and demand relationships, weather, agriculture, trade, changes in interest rates and monetary and other governmental policies, action and inaction. Uranium Companies may be significantly subject to the effects of competitive pressures in the uranium business and the price of uranium. The price of uranium may be affected by changes in inflation rates, interest rates, monetary policy, economic conditions and political stability. The price of uranium may fluctuate substantially over short periods of time, therefore, the Fund’s share price may be more volatile than other types of investments. In addition, they may also be significantly affected by import controls, worldwide competition, liability for environmental damage, depletion of resources, mandated expenditures for safety and pollution control devices, political and economic conditions in uranium producing and consuming countries, and uranium production levels and costs of production. Demand for nuclear energy may face considerable risk as a result of, among other risks, incidents and accidents, breaches of security, ill-intentioned acts of terrorism, air crashes, natural disasters, equipment malfunctions or mishandling in storage, handling, transportation, treatment or conditioning of substances and nuclear materials.