Archive | Battery Technology Innovation/Electric Vehicles

Why Electric Cars Excite the World’s Biggest Mining Company – by Chisaki Watanabe (Bloomberg News – November 1, 2016)

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest miner, is hot for electric vehicles. The Melbourne-based resources giant, which mines metals and coal used for both steelmaking and fueling power plants, is increasingly optimistic that there’ll be a surge in demand for some of its products as consumers opt for electric vehicles, or EVs, and other renewable energy technologies.

“As you see more renewables and EVs, we also will see an impact on copper demand,” Fiona Wild, BHP’s vice president, sustainability and climate change, said Tuesday at a conference in Shanghai hosted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“EVs at the moment have about 80 kilograms of copper in them. As they become more efficient, you see a greater amount of copper in those vehicles, so there’s always upside for copper.” Continue Reading →

Energy metal demand to outpace output in wake of $20bn battery build boom – by Henry Lazenby ( – October 14, 2016)

VANCOUVER ( – “The megafactories are coming.” This is the mantra of market analyst, founder and MD of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Simon Moores, citing research showing more than $20-billion currently committed to creating new, or expanding existing lithium- (Li-) ion battery cell plants.

This will take global production capacity from megawatt to gigawatt territory, with the bulk of the activity taking place in China, where massive tooling operations are currently under way.

According to Moores, South Africa-born entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Nevada-based Tesla Gigafactory, which is expected to start production later this year, is leading the ‘capacity revolution’, with a planned total installed production capacity of 35 GWh by 2020. Continue Reading →

Electric car revolution brightens outlook for a medley of metals – by Jan Harvey (Reuters U.S. – October 5, 2016)

LONDON – Electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf may look no different from the standard family runaround. But the new materials that go into them could revolutionize the market for metals used in the industry, opening up a new field for commodities investors.

“We identified electric vehicles as an area where we are at an inflection point for demand,” said Duncan Goodwin, portfolio manager of the Baring Global Resources Fund.

Around 12 percent of the fund’s $378.2 million in assets is exposed to materials that are used in electric vehicles. It has investments in New York-listed Albemarle and Australia’s Orocobre, two companies producing lithium, a key element in electric car batteries. Shares in both companies have risen sharply this year. Continue Reading →

Could A Lithium Shortage De-Rail The Electric Car Boom? – by James Stafford (Oil – August 24, 2016)

We’ve gone electric, and there’s no going back at this point. Lithium is our new fuel, but like fossil fuels, the reserves we’re currently tapping into are finite—and that’s what investors can take to the bank.

You may think lithium got too popular too fast. You may suspect electric vehicles are too much buzz and not enough real future. You may, in short, be a lithium skeptic, one of many. And yet, despite this skepticism, lithium demand is rising steadily and sharply, and indications that a shortage may be looming are very real.

It won’t be a shortage in terms of ‘peak lithium’; rather, it will be a game of catch-up with the electric car boom, with miners hustling to explore and tap into new reserves. Continue Reading →

Rally in Super Commodity Strained by Race to Fuel Tesla – by Jesse Riseborough, Thomas Biesheuvel and Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – August 19, 2016)

Even the mining industry’s super commodity of the future may be unable to avoid the Achilles’ heel of all mineral producers — a recurring habit of busting a boom with too much supply.

As miners of everything from copper to iron ore wrestled with losses driven by global surpluses, prices soared for lithium, the light-weight metal used in rechargeable batteries. It’s easy to see why. Booming demand outpaced production thanks to the faster-than-expected growth in global electric-vehicle sales and the aggressive expansion plans of Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors Inc.

But a lot more lithium is on the way. The four largest producers — Rockwood Holdings Inc., Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile SA, Albermarle Corp. and FMC Corp. — control as much as 90 percent of the market. Continue Reading →

The Key Challenge To Tesla’s Growth – by Michael McDonald (Oil – August 12, 2016)

Tesla’s increasingly ambitious plans to rule not only the electric vehicle space but also the solar energy space are likely to become more difficult to achieve over the next year. It has been widely reported in recent weeks that Tesla’s gigafactory is facing some challenges in becoming fully operational.

What is perhaps less well understood is the magnitude of the supply chain challenges that will face Tesla and its gigafactory. Tesla’s goal is to produce 500,000 vehicles a year by 2018. The company has accelerated its production time table in large part due to the enormous amount of demand the company saw for its Model 3 sedan.

The firm announced almost 375,000 preorders for the vehicle. To fulfill this demand plus new demand that the company will likely see for its products over the next couple of years, Tesla needs to produce more lithium ion batteries in 2018 than the entire world produced in 2013. That’s not an impossible feat given the size of the gigafactory, but it is challenging. Continue Reading →

There is a race for lithium going on in Nevada – by Phil LeBeau ( – July 25, 2016)

Ever since electric carmaker Tesla announced plans to build a battery plant outside Reno, Nevada, investors, fans of Elon Musk’s company and others around the world have started paying attention to the silver state’s large lithium deposits.

Lithium is a key component in the production of batteries used in cell phones and electric vehicles. As sales of electric vehicles, which topped 500,000 worldwide last year, increase, so is demand for lithium. “Every new mine that we can find needs to be brought online and it needs to be done as fast as possible,” said Patrick Highsmith, CEO of Pure Energy Minerals.

Highsmith’s company is exploring how much lithium is in the water tables deep below the Nevada desert in Clayton Valley. This valley, halfway between Las Vegas and Reno, is ringed by mountains and home to one of the largest lithium deposits in North America. Continue Reading →

Electric cars no ‘major disrupter’ to platinum business (Business Day TV – July 26, 2016)

Chris Griffith is CEO of Anglo American Platinum.

BUSINESS DAY TV: Free cash flow is up and net debt is down, but so too are first half profits. Anglo American Platinum continues to refocus its business in a tough environment. Joining me on News Leader with more is CEO Chris Griffith.

Chris … so interim headline earnings are down 58% to just over R1bn. Profit from lower metal prices though in the previous year did have an extraordinary item and that really skews the end result, doesn’t it?

CHRIS GRIFFITH: That’s correct. Last year, in the first half of the year, we had a massive stock gain which added about R2.2bn to earnings. And if you compare a stock gain that we had in this first half of the year of about R0.6bn, you see a net difference between the two periods of R1.6bn. Continue Reading →

Casualty of Australia’s iron ore war seeks second chance in lithium – by James Regan and Matt Siegel (Reuters U.S. – July 21, 2016)

SYDNEY – Ken Brinsden rode Australia’s iron ore boom up and then down as head of Atlas Iron. Now he is chasing a new treasure, one fueled by a metal powerful enough to propel electric cars to speeds of 250 km (150 miles) per hour: lithium

His company, Pilbara Minerals, plans to be mining the silvery-white metal by 2018, putting it ahead of dozens of other Australian prospectors.

“Once we get up, we will be able to account for the equivalent of about 20 percent of the market as it stands now,” Brinsden said. “As long as we can keep our costs low, we’ve got a good shot.” Continue Reading →

Lifton challenges the WSJ editorial on Honda no longer using heavy rare earths – by Jack Lifton ( – July 20, 2016)

This morning The Wall Street Journal editorial page, no less, “reports” that Honda will no longer use “heavy” rare earths in its “hybrid” car engines after 2017.

What the WSJ editorial staff does not understand is that this is shilling for Honda and says nothing about the use of rare earths in general for EVs, electrified, not hybrid, vehicles. Honda is among the world’s largest manufacturers of internal combustion engines, which do not and have not ever used rare earths in their core construction.

Honda does not want the electrification of cars, if it ever happens, to happen soon, because it has a huge investment in the design and manufacturing of internal combustion engines. Hybrid combinations of electric and internal combustion power trains, such as in Toyota’s class leading Prius, have long used nickel metal hydride (rare earth based) batteries in the electric power train and high efficiency heavy rare earth using electric drive motors. Continue Reading →

Why Lithium Will See Another Price Spike This Fall – by James Stafford (Oil – July 18, 2016)

So far, lithium has been the hottest metal of 2016, beating out gold, with exponential demand expected over the coming years. Although the price trajectory of the metal has been subdued in recent months, the fundamentals behind the long-term trajectory suggest strong potential for long-term growth.

Price doubling from 2014/2015 was first seen in China and is now being felt worldwide, with lithium hydroxide prices from $16-20 and carbonate prices from $12-14 thousand USD per ton.

There is no doubt as to the push that Tesla has given the current automotive transition to electric vehicles (EVs). As the company’s mission statement outlines, it hopes “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.” Continue Reading →

Samsung rumoured to invest half-a-billion in Chinese electric car company – by Andrew Topf ( – July 17, 2016)

Samsung Electronics (KRX:005930) is looking to take the plunge into electric vehicle (EV) technology with a sizable investment into BYD Co., (HKG:1211) the world’s largest electric car manufacturer.

The division of Samsung, one of the most important “chaebols”, or conglomerates in South Korea, said investing in BYD, backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., (NYSE:BRK.A), is expected to bolster the South Korean company’s semiconductor business for cars. Samsung Electronics is the largest maker of cellular phones and memory chips in the world.

Talks between the two companies have apparently been underway the last few days. Korea Economic Daily reported on Friday that Samsung Electronics is about to pull the trigger on a 3-billion yuan (US$450 million) investment in Shenzhen-based BYD for a 4% share of the company. Continue Reading →

Canadian lithium-ion battery maker Electrovaya racks up orders, cranks up German subsidiary: ‘We’ve taken off’ – by Peter Kuitenbrouwer (Financial Post – July 9, 2016)

The sprawling Electrovaya Inc. factory in Mississauga, Ont., looks more like a graveyard for prototype electric cars than the clean, green future of our battery-powered planet. The plant is about 90 per cent empty. A locker room for hundreds of workers lies abandoned. Nearby sit four green “Maya 2000” electric cars.

Further along languish more cars, including an SUV that Sankar Das Gupta, the rumpled, effusive electrochemist who is Electrovaya’s chief executive, proudly calls, “the first electric car in North America.” Asked why these cars are parked, Das Gupta blames Canadian investors’ historic aversion to risk and Transport Canada rules that forbid vehicle road tests.

In a corner of the quiet shop floor labelled New Product Introduction, two older engineers hunch over laptops connected to a network board plugged into black boxes containing hundreds of interconnected lithium-ion battery cells. Continue Reading →

Green Cars Cause Damage of Their Own as Flamingo Flocks Shrink – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – July 5, 2016)

Tesla Motors Inc. and General Motors Corp.’s Chevrolet are preparing to bring out mass-market electric cars next year. If you plan to buy one and help save the planet, people who live near the Atacama salt-flat ask that you spare a thought for the flamingos.

The vehicles will be powered by rechargeable batteries containing lithium, a silver-white metal found in brine deposits under the world’s driest desert in northern Chile. The 1,200-square-foot Salar de Atacama is also known for wild flamingos, who feed and breed in its lagoons. Some locals say that miners sucking water out of the earth to get to the lithium are starving the long-legged birds in the process.

“They are pumping up an absurd amount of water,” says Rolando Humire Coca, a biochemist who heads the Naturalist Society of San Pedro de Atacama and is a member of Chile’s National Institute for Human Rights. “If they keep using the same methods to extract water, the consequences will be disastrous. All forms of life will be destroyed.” Continue Reading →

There are two types of mine operators that are looking at battery technology – by Michael Allan McCrae ( – June 22, 2016)

Existing mines that want to go deeper are looking at battery technology, says Andrew Lyon, General Manager for Atlas Copco Mining and Rock Excavation.

Lyon, who spoke to at the CIM convention in May, was introducing his company’s new battery operated Scooptram 7. Lowering the overall operating and capital cost of the mine is what’s driving battery adoption.

As well as existing mines, Lyon said that new mines are being considered that will use battery technology entirely. “Currently the mines that are talking to us are about to go deeper,” says Lyon. “They want to continue their mine life without having to put more capital into ventilation infrastructure, which is incredibly expensive. Continue Reading →