#GM offers clues to technology aimed at slashing EV battery costs

GM is experimenting with silicon-rich and lithium metal anodes, solid state and high voltage electrolytes, and dry processing of electrodes for its next generation of Ultium batteries, due around 2025.

The competition to fine-tune proprietary technology to cut electric vehicle battery costs is replacing horsepower wars as the battleground for deciding the industry’s winners and losers.

GM has said it aims to reduce battery cell cost to well under $100 per kilowatt-hour by 2025, compared with more than $150/kW today. GM executives also have said the company expects its future EV batteries to last for a million miles or more, with driving ranges of 500-600 miles (805 to 965 km) between charges.

That battery, which will be used in new GM electric vehicles such as the Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq, uses graphite-based anodes, nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum (NCMA) cathodes and liquid electrolyte.

GM said “the supply chain is going to explode” with demand for cobalt, nickel and other metals as GM and competitors ramp up EV production over the next five years.

Read more at: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/gm-offers-clues-technology-aimed-201625572.html

#THEwashingtonpost: #Biden’s plan to rev up the electric car market is complicated by battery supplies

President Biden’s ambitious plan to jump-start the U.S. electric vehicle market faces a roadblock: a weak supply chain that is making it difficult for American automakers to get enough batteries to scale up production.

And that short shortage could get worse, depending on whether Biden intervenes this week in a dispute between two top South Korean manufacturers over moves by one to open a battery plant in Georgia to serve the U.S. market. Hanging in the balance are plans by Volkswagen and Ford to roll out about 340,000 new electric vehicles over the next several years.

Read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/04/04/electric-cars-batteries/

South China Mining Post: #Indonesia’s plans with #China’s #Tsingshan face pressure to uphold green standards

A new industrial estate for metal smelting that Indonesia plans to build with China’s steel and nickel giant Tsingshan Holding Group in Borneo will provide the country with much-needed investment to develop its electric vehicles (EV) battery industry, but environmentalists warned that the project needs to be managed carefully so as not to devastate the surrounding area and its communities.

Luhut Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment, said last week that Southeast Asia’s biggest economy was in talks with Tsingshan and Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group to build a new industrial estate to host smelters for iron ore, nickel ore and copper – minerals critical to serving global demand for new technologies.

The smelters would be near an 11,000 megawatt-hydropower plant in North Kalimantan province, which is currently being built by Power Construction Corp of China (PowerChina) and Indonesia’s Kayan Hydro Energy. The first phase of the hydropower plant project is expected to be completed by 2025. 

Read more at: https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/economics/article/3128294/indonesias-plans-chinas-tsingshan-face-pressure-uphold-green

#Bloomberg – #SaudiArabia of #Cobalt: #Congo Eyes Battery-Metal Price Power

Democratic Republic of Congo, the world’s main source of vital battery ingredient cobalt, is also one of the poorest nations. And while it’s dominated by huge industrial mines, about a fifth of its silvery-blue metal is still hand-dug, in often unregulated and dangerous conditions.

Jean-Dominique Takis Kumbo, the head of the new state cobalt buyer, is determined to change that.

His Entreprise Generale du Cobalt will have a monopoly on all hand-dug cobalt in the central African country, giving it power to improve working conditions and potential control of nearly 15% of the world’s production. Takis says he’s hoping that’s a market share big enough to help influence cobalt prices the way Saudi  Arabian Oill Co., or Aramco, does with oil, and ultimately boost profit for the state.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-02/the-saudi-arabia-of-cobalt-congo-eyes-battery-metal-price-power

#Trafigura Sees Green #Copper Supercycle Driving Prices to $15,000

The world’s biggest copper trader expects the metal to hit $15,000 a ton in the coming decade as demand from global decarbonization produces a deep market deficit.

Even in the early stages  of the Covid-19 crisis, Trafigura Group was betting on the rebound that’s seen copper double over the past year to trade at more than $9,000 a ton. Now the commodities giant sees the metal soaring past record highs above $10,000 as western economies pull out of the pandemic and the green revolution takes hold.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-23/trafigura-sees-green-copper-supercycle-driving-prices-to-15-000

#MIT News: Study reveals plunge in #lithium-ion battery costs

The cost of the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used for phones, laptops, and cars has fallen dramatically over the last three decades, and has been a major driver of the rapid growth of those technologies. But attempting to quantify that cost decline has produced ambiguous and conflicting results that have hampered attempts to project the technology’s future or devise useful policies and research priorities.

Now, MIT researchers have carried out an exhaustive analysis of the studies that have looked at the decline in the prices these batteries, which are the dominant rechargeable technology in today’s world. The new study looks back over three decades, including analyzing the original underlying datasets and documents whenever possible, to arrive at a clear picture of the technology’s trajectory.

The researchers found that the cost of these batteries has dropped by 97 percent since they were first commercially introduced in 1991. This rate of improvement is much faster than many analysts had claimed and is comparable to that of solar photovoltaic panels, which some had considered to be an exceptional case. 

Read more at: https://news.mit.edu/2021/lithium-ion-battery-costs-0323

U.S. looks to #Canada for minerals to build electric vehicles -documents

The U.S. government is working to help American miners and battery makers expand into Canada, part of a strategy to boost regional production of minerals used to make electric vehicles and counter Chinese dominance.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Commerce is hosting a closed-door virtual meeting with miners and battery manufacturers to discuss ways to boost Canadian production of EV materials, according to documents seen by Reuters.

The move comes as demand for electrified transportation is set to surge over the next decade.

Conservationists have strongly opposed several large U.S. mining projects, leading officials to look north of the border to Canada and its supply of 13 of the 35 minerals deemed critical for national defense by Washington.

Read more at: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/u-s-looks-to-canada-for-minerals-to-build-electric-vehicles-documents

#Nickel demand for #EVs to outpace #lithium and #cobalt

As a key component of battery cathode chemistry in many existing and upcoming electric vehicles (EVs), nickel will remain an important metal to watch in the coming decade, market analyst Fitch Solutions maintains in its latest industry report.

Impact of EV battery manufacturing on nickel consumption and now expects nickel demand for EV battery manufacturing to experience an annual average growth rate of 29% over 2021-2030, outpacing both lithium and cobalt demand, the analyst says.

The analyst also maintains the underlying assumption that NMC 811 cathodes will rise to 80.0% of NMC market share by 2027, which will effectively raise the average nickel content from 34.6kg to 44.5kg for each NMC cathode produced.

Automakers such as BMW, Hyundai and Renault use the NMC chemistry in their vehicles.

NMC cathodes once featured equal proportions of nickel, manganese, and cobalt, a blend called NMC 111. Over time, battery makers have increased nickel and reduced cobalt, using thermal management systems and electronics that regulate charging and discharging to reduce degradation of the cathode material. The latest generation of this formulation, with an 8:1:1 ratio of nickel to manganese to cobalt.

Read more at: https://www.mining.com/nickel-demand-for-evs-to-outpace-lithium-and-cobalt-report/

European Commission: Electric Cars Will Cost More Using Ethically Sourced Batteries

The European Union’s efforts to ethically source a key battery metal face headwinds that could make it more expensive for automakers to go electric.

“If, as proposed by the European Commission, due diligence on cobalt supply chain will be mandatory for batteries sold in the EU markets in the near future, the demand for responsibly sourced cobalt will increase rapidly,” the study prepared by the EU’s Joint Research Centre said.

But those “ambitious requirements might currently be too difficult,” according to an assessment prepared by researchers advising the European Commission. The report, which will be published by Elsevier Ltd.’s Resources Policy journal in June, suggests a tightening market for responsibly-sourced cobalt.

By 2030, EU economies need to secure more than 64,000 tons of ethically-sourced cobalt beyond existing supply-chain constraints, a volume of metal worth around $3.2 billion at current prices, to fuel the transition to electric vehicles. The run on the metal’s price is prompting mining companies to seek new reserves from Australia to the deep sea.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-13/electric-cars-will-cost-more-using-ethically-sourced-batteries

#Ontario seeks to capitalise on growing demand for critical minerals

The Ontario government is developing its first-ever critical minerals strategy to help generate investment, increase the province’s competitiveness in the global market, and support its transition to a low-carbon economy.

Read more at: https://www.miningweekly.com/article/ontario-seeks-to-capitalise-on-growing-demand-for-critical-minerals-2021-03-11/rep_id:3650

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