Archive | Battery Technology Innovation/Electric Vehicles

Nobel prize honours breakthroughs on lithium-ion batteries – by David Keyton, Jamey Keaten and Christina Larson (The Associated Press/CTV News – October 9, 2019)

https://www.ctvnews.ca/

STOCKHOLM — If you’re reading this on a cellphone or laptop computer, you might thank the three winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work on lithium-ion batteries.

The batteries power cellphones, laptops, electric cars and countless other devices of modern life, and could become the foundation for a greener future. Batteries that economically store energy from renewable sources like the wind and sun open up new possibilities to curb global warming.

“This is a highly charged story of tremendous potential,” quipped Olof Ramstrom of the Nobel committee for chemistry. The prize announced Wednesday went to John B. Goodenough, 97, an engineering professor at the University of Texas; M. Stanley Whittingham, 77, a chemistry professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton; and Akira Yoshino, 71, of chemical company Asahi Kasei Corp. and Meijo University in Japan. Continue Reading →

Lithium at Two-Year Low Hobbles U.S. Bid to Loosen China’s Grip on Market – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – October 10, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The lowest lithium prices in over two years are hampering a handful of miners that want to challenge China’s dominance in the market.

China controls most of the processing that makes the mineral usable in rechargeable batteries, leaving American vehicle makers vulnerable to supply disruptions if trade tensions escalate. With automakers from Tesla Inc. to General Motors Co. aiming to manufacture more electric cars at home, small companies are seeking to build the first U.S. lithium mines in decades as a step toward forming a local supply chain.

However, financing mines is proving a challenge after a rush of Australian supply dragged down prices by a third from a record in mid-2018. Companies also face stricter environmental rules and regulatory hurdles in the U.S., which currently accounts for just 1.2% of global lithium production. Continue Reading →

Dyson has scrapped its electric car project (BBC.com – October 11, 2019)

https://www.bbc.com/

Dyson, the technology company best known for its vacuum cleaners, has scrapped a project to build electric cars. The firm, headed by British inventor Sir James Dyson, said its engineers had developed a “fantastic electric car” but that it would not hit the roads because it was not “commercially viable”.

In an email sent to all employees, Sir James said the company had unsuccessfully tried to find a buyer for the project. The division employs 500 UK workers.

Dyson had planned to invest more than £2bn in developing a “radical and different” electric vehicle, a project it launched in 2016. It said the car would not be aimed at the mass market. Continue Reading →

Cobalt, Congo and the responsible investor – by Martin Grosskope (Globe and Mail – October 10, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Martin Grosskopf is a vice-president and portfolio manager at AGF Investments Inc.

There is a dark side to a brighter, cleaner and smarter future. It starts with lithium-ion batteries that contain cobalt, the material needed to power our new technologies, giving way to the 21st century’s version of the great gold rush as global giants such as China move to wrest control of the world’s supply.

These batteries are used in everything from our smartphones and laptops to electric vehicles (EVs) and have earned the “blood batteries” moniker because they are sometimes mined by children and other locals in unsafe conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The misery in which these so-called artisanal miners work, and their rising death toll, has thrust cobalt mining in the Congo into the international spotlight. The issue is also raising vexing questions for those with an interest in responsible investing. Continue Reading →

Battling ‘battery cell scarcity’ and manufacturing hiccups, Tesla quietly buys Ontario automation firm – by Gabriel Friedland (Financial Post – October 9, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Richmond Hill-based Hibar Systems Ltd., which specializes in building ‘complex high speed integrated battery assembly lines,’ now a subsidiary of Tesla

Tesla Inc. has quietly acquired an Ontario-based battery manufacturer in its latest investment in Canada. Richmond Hill-based Hibar Systems Ltd., which specializes in building “complex high speed integrated battery assembly lines,” is now a subsidiary of the California-based electric vehicle maker.

Terms of the deal, including price, were not disclosed, but Tesla filed lobbying forms in October in Ottawa that list Hibar as a subsidiary, as first reported by trade magazine Electric Autonomy, and the company has scaled back its website to a single page.

The move comes amid Tesla’s well-known manufacturing challenges, having consistently missed ambitious production targets despite making large investments in robotics and other technology to automate its processes. Continue Reading →

When will we finally admit that electric vehicles aren’t the solution? – by Martin Horicka (Stuff.co.nz – October 9, 2019)

https://www.stuff.co.nz/

OPINION: Our civilisation is facing a major challenge. We have to choose the right path to an environmentally more sustainable society. At the same time, we should be sure the measures chosen are indeed the best possible.

Replacing fossil fuel cars with electric vehicles seems to be a logical, correct, and even necessary solution to our climate problem. But the issue is far more complex than our intuition tells us.

The banning of further production of internal combustion engines by 2050, 2040 or as soon as 2030 is talked about, even though it could take us into dangerous uncharted territory we know almost nothing about. Continue Reading →

Chile’s attempts to move up the lithium value chain are not working (The Economist – October 5, 2019)

https://www.economist.com/

Chile’s economic boom is copper-bottomed. Since pre-colonial times people have worked the metal. Today Chile produces 28% of the world’s output. The industry accounts for almost 10% of gdp, 48% of exports and a third of foreign direct investment. Copper has helped make Chileans the richest people in South America.

Politicians, however, dream of doing more than exporting unrefined commodities. In 2016 Michelle Bachelet, then the president, announced a plan to encourage manufacturing and innovation at home through the use of another metal that Chile has in abundance: lithium.

This is used in batteries for mobile phones, laptops and electric cars. The idea was for Chile not only to mine the metal but also to make components for car batteries, the fastest-growing part of the market. Continue Reading →

Lithium at Two-Year Low Hobbles U.S. Bid to Loosen China’s Grip on Market – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Washington Post/Bloomberg – October 2, 2019)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

The lowest lithium prices in over two years are hampering a handful of miners that want to challenge China’s dominance in the market. China controls most of the processing that makes the mineral usable in rechargeable batteries, leaving American vehicle makers vulnerable to supply disruptions if trade tensions escalate.

With automakers from Tesla Inc. to General Motors Co. aiming to manufacture more electric cars at home, small companies are seeking to build the first U.S. lithium mines in decades as a step toward forming a local supply chain.

However, financing mines is proving a challenge after a rush of Australian supply dragged down prices by a third from a record in mid-2018. Companies also face stricter environmental rules and regulatory hurdles in the U.S., which currently accounts for just 1.2% of global lithium production. Continue Reading →

Canada ready to provide vital minerals to U.S., Trudeau says – by Robert Fife and Marieke Walsh (Globe and Mail – September 29, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says Canada is ready and willing to supply the United States with strategically important minerals used in consumer and industrial products as Washington steps up efforts to cut its dependence on China.

At a White House meeting in late June, Mr. Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to negotiate a joint strategy on mineral collaboration. The United States is also seeking alliances with Australia, Japan and the European Union, which also fear relying too much on China for these minerals.

“I brought up this at the top of my conversation in my last meeting with Donald Trump, where I highlighted that Canada has many of the rare-earth minerals that are so necessary for modern technologies,” Mr. Trudeau told a news conference on Monday in Toronto. The rare earths are 17 minerals used in high-tech and military products such as smartphones, electric cars and fifth-generation fighter jets. Continue Reading →

Electric-Car Dreams Could Fall a Nickel Short – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – September 29, 2019)

https://www.wsj.com/

Demand for a form of nickel needed in electric-vehicle batteries is starting to outpace supply

SYDNEY—Global producers of electric cars have big ambitions and a bigger problem: Supplies of a key material are running short.

Nickel sulfate is a brilliantly colored crystalline substance used in electric-vehicle batteries. The ore most commonly used to produce it is mined in only a handful of places—and they include some of the most politically or operationally challenging, such as Russia or Canada’s frozen Northeast.

Nickel sulfate accounts for just a fraction of global nickel sales; about 70% of nickel is used in stainless steel. But auto makers will launch more than 200 new plug-in electric vehicles through 2023, consulting firm AlixPartners estimates—and that isn’t counting hybrids. UBS expects batteries in electric vehicles to account for 12% of global nickel demand by then, up from 3% in 2018. Continue Reading →

Canadian lithium-tech companies find traction amid rise of electric cars – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – September 26, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Canada’s mainstream lithium miners continue to struggle suggesting the next wave of growth will come from technology — not geology

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travelled to Burnaby, British Columbia to announce his latest climate change initiative at the pilot plant of an upstart company that’s tinkering with lithium-ion battery technology.

His choice of venue revealed much about the opportunities in Canada as a new supply chain takes shape around the growing electric vehicle industry, which relies on lithium-ion batteries, not oil.

Although mining has been a historical strength in Canada, the latest rush around battery metals may end up providing more opportunities to this country’s fledgling technology sector. Continue Reading →

Miners push for U.S. Congress to vote on electric vehicle supply chain bills – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – September 23, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Mining executives eager to speed U.S. production of lithium and other metals for the burgeoning electric vehicle industry are frustrated that the U.S. Congress has yet to pass legislation designed to streamline mine permitting and fund geological studies, among other steps.

Earlier this year, Washington’s trade war with Beijing threatened to curb Chinese shipments to the United States of rare earth minerals used in defense equipment. China is also the world’s largest electric vehicle battery producer, processor of lithium and consumer of copper.

“We don’t have great clarity on what the legislative timelines are,” said Keith Phillips, chief executive of Piedmont Lithium Ltd (PLL.AX), which is developing a lithium mine in North Carolina. “This pending legislation would be a big positive” to help secure investment. Continue Reading →

Australian lithium recovery seen by mid-2020 as EV production revs up – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – September 17, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Strong demand from the electric-vehicle sector alongside supply cuts should help Australian lithium miners recover toward the middle of next year, earlier than expected, industry executives said on Wednesday.

Australian producers of spodumene, a type of concentrated lithium ore that accounts for about half of global lithium supply, have suffered this year after a flood of production sent prices tumbling by more than 20%. Recently, miners said they do not expect a recovery until the end of this year or early 2020.

BMI Managing Director Simon Moores suggested that the wait could be longer, but still earlier than market consensus of 2021. “There are two factors. One is the build-up of the demand picture downstream. Continue Reading →

U.S. ‘falling behind’ in global race to develop electric vehicle supply chain – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – September 17, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is losing the race to extract and refine minerals used to make electric vehicles and should do more to spur domestic production, a bipartisan group of senators said on Tuesday.

The push comes as China has grown to dominate the market for lithium, rare earths, cobalt and other so-called strategic minerals used to make a plethora of consumer products, a dominance that politicians have said poses a strategic threat to the United States.

The Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a Tuesday hearing in part to keep the topic fresh in the national dialogue even as attention begins to lurch toward the 2020 presidential campaign. Continue Reading →

Canadian economy won’t feel impact of battery metal mining – by Frik Els (Mining.com – September 12, 2019)

https://www.mining.com/

Hardly three years ago expectations of a demand boom for battery materials used in electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage reignited interest in the mining sector as the China-induced supercycle in commodities demand started levelling off.

Prices for lithium and cobalt soared (only to fall back again). Same for vanadium. Graphite and rare earth prices made a comeback. Nickel, where EV-related demand is still tiny, was caught up in the euphoria, and the primarily steelmaking metal is holding onto those gains and more.

Longer term mining’s bellwether metal – copper – may benefit the most and aluminum (on a dollar-basis a bigger industry than copper) will feel a sizeable impact. Continue Reading →