Wall Street is aghast at Elon Musk’s dismissive attitude toward analysts’ probing following a quarter of record (but less than expected) losses for Tesla, but the electric vehicle maker did provide some answers to questions that’s been vexing the mining industry.
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a provider of price information and research on battery supply chains, parsed the numbers after Tesla gave a rare indication of the relative proportions of raw materials used in its latest lithium-ion battery for its Model 3.
At first blush it’s not good news for miners of cobalt, a crucial ingredient in batteries used in electric vehicles and cellphones that’s been trading near decade highs above $90,000 a tonne.
Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt (NMC) batteries favoured by most vehicle makers contain around 20% cobalt. Tesla is a proponent of nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) technology which requires less than a third the amount of cobalt.
Musk said on Wednesday the cobalt content of its NCA cathode chemistry “is already lower than next-generation cathodes that will be made by other cell producers with a nickel-manganese-cobalt ratio of 8:1:1″.
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