The electrification and digitalization trends sweeping across Europe are driving a growing demand for critical metals in the region's vehicle fleet. However, the current recycling rate of these metals from end-of-life vehicles remains low. Dysprosium, neodymium, manganese, and niobium are highly sought-after metals in the European Union (EU) due to their economic significance, but their supply is limited, making it challenging to scale up raw material production. This increasing dependency on critical metals presents various problems.The EU heavily relies on imports of these metals since extraction is concentrated in a few countries such as China, South Africa, and Brazil. The lack of availability poses economic and environmental challenges, jeopardizing the transition to electric cars and sustainable technologies. Additionally, the scarcity of these metals raises concerns about future access if existing resources are not effectively utilized. Maria Ljunggren, an Associate Professor in Sustainable Materials Management at Chalmers University of Technology, highlights these pressing issues.The Critical Raw Materials Act, recently proposed by the European Commission, acknowledges the severity of the situation surrounding critical and strategic raw materials in Europe. The Act emphasizes the importance of enhancing cooperation with reliable external trading partners, improving recycling practices for critical and strategic raw materials, and exploring geological resources within European countries. In Sweden, the state-owned mining company LKAB has reported significant deposits of rare earth metals in Kiruna, which could potentially reduce import dependence in the long run.Together with the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA), Ljunggren conducted a survey of metals currently used in Europe's vehicle fleet. This initiative, commissioned by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), resulted in the Raw Materials in Vehicles database, providing insights into the presence of metals in new vehicles, vehicles in use, and recycled vehicles over time. The survey, spanning back to 2006, reveals a substantial increase in the proportion of critical metals in vehicles, with rare earth elements showing significant growth.Neodymium and dysprosium usage in new cars has surged by approximately 400% and 1,700%, respectively, even before the full-scale electrification era. Gold and silver, although not classified as critical metals, have also experienced an 80% increase due to their economic value. The survey aims to provide decision-makers, companies, and organizations with an evidence base for promoting sustainable use of critical metals within the EU. However, the economic challenges associated with recycling these metals, given their low concentrations in each vehicle, remain a significant obstacle.To achieve greater recycling rates, vehicle design should facilitate metal recovery, and incentives and flexible processes should be implemented to encourage recycling. However, recycling alone may not meet the increasing demand for critical metals in the near future. Therefore, there is a need to explore material substitution and focus on domestic resource extraction to support electrification without hindrance.