From Wood To Composites: How Aircraft Materials Have Changed Over The Years – by Dr. Omar Memon (Simple Flying – June 11, 2023)

Over a century ago, in December 1903, Wright Brothers’ first human-crewed flight took place onboard the Wright Flyer in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It was the first powered, controlled, heavier-than-air airplane. The aircraft was built using wood, wires, and fabric on significant components. Since that time, major advancements in aircraft structural materials have been noticed. This article highlights the evolution of airframe materials and critical developments in recent times.

The Wright Brothers’ era

Various types of wood, metal wires, and fabrics of varying densities were used to manufacture the Wright Flyer. The Wrights used spruce for straight parts of the wings, such as wing spars. The ash wood was used for curved surfaces, including the ribs of the wings. The wooden frame was covered with a finely-woven cotton cloth, sealed with paraffin-based canvas paint. The metal fittings on the airframe were made from steel.

Read more

Exclusive: Tesla looking at “opportunities for industrial facility, mineral extraction” in Ontario – by Emma Jarratt (Electric Autonomy – May 1, 2023)

Tesla gives more hints about the nature of its plans for a Canadian facility in new lobbyist registry documents filed last month, Electric Autonomy exclusively reveals

Tesla is seeking “opportunities for industrial facility, mineral extraction” in Ontario, per new documents filed with the Ontario government, Electric Autonomy can report.

The lobbyist registry, updated in April, indicates that the mineral-hungry automaker is interested in taking more control over its electric vehicle battery supply chain and Ontario is a preferred location.

Read more

Ottawa matches U.S. with up to $13-billion in subsidies to land Volkswagen EV battery plant – by Adam Radwanski (Globe and Mail – April 21, 2023)

The federal government will provide Volkswagen with up to $13-billion in production subsidies for the new electric-vehicle battery plant it plans to build in St. Thomas, Ont. – nearly double the estimated $7-billion cost of construction.

Ottawa’s backing, which also includes about $700-million in additional support for nearer-term capital costs, is by far the most generous subsidy that Canada has ever provided to an automaker for locating a factory here.

Read more

Sources say Volkswagen’s new Ontario plant will dwarf previous automaker investments – by Tonda MacCharles and Robert Benzie (Toronto Star – April 20, 2023)

Ottawa and Queen’s Park hope the auto giant’s new manufacturing complex will be the lynchpin of a new “green” supply chain in Canada.

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford hit the road Friday to finally unveil plans for the new multi-billion dollar Volkswagen electric vehicle “gigafactory” in St. Thomas. Ottawa and Queen’s Park hope the German auto giant’s massive new manufacturing complex will be the lynchpin of a new “green” supply chain in Canada.

Volkswagen announced last month it chose southwestern Ontario over U.S states like Oklahoma that were vying for the global automakers’ first battery plant outside Europe. The “gigafactory” will sprawl over hundreds of acres near London, Ont., and produce hundreds of thousands of electric car batteries a year to generate “gigawatts” of battery power for the burgeoning EV market in North America.

Read more

‘Net Zero’ Will Mean a Mining Boom – by Daniel Yergin (Wall Street Journal – April 12, 2023)

But political instability will make it difficult to obtain all the minerals electric cars will need.

California made a stunning decision last year—that by 2035 all new cars sold in the state must have at least 2½ times as much copper as conventional cars today. That’s not literally what the mandate said, of course, but it’s the practical effect of ordering all cars to be electric in the next 12 years.

“Big Shovel” will compete with “Big Oil” as mining ramps up to supply the vast increase in a wide range of minerals that energy transition requires. But getting everything that will be needed will be tough.

Read more

Ford Motor Co. unveils details of plan to spend $1.8B in Oakville to produce electric vehicles (Canadian Press/CBC News Canada – April 11, 2023)

Oakville Assembly Complex set to begin producing electric vehicles in 2025

Ford Motor Co. has revealed some details of its plan to spend $1.8 billion on its Oakville Assembly Complex to turn it into an electric vehicle production hub in the latest commitment by an automaker transitioning towards an electric future.

The automaker said Tuesday that it will start retooling the Ontario complex in the second quarter of 2024 and begin producing electric vehicles in 2025.The transformation of the Oakville site, to be renamed the Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex, will include a new 407,000 square-foot battery plant where parts produced at Ford’s U.S. operations will be assembled into battery packs.

Read more

Ford signs nickel smelter deal with Vale Indonesia, Huayou (Nikkei Asia – March 31, 2023)

Equity investments are part of $4.5bn development of Sulawesi block

JAKARTA — Ford Motor has signed a definitive agreement with the Indonesian unit of Brazilian mining giant Vale and Chinese battery materials producer Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt for joint investments in a nickel smelter project in Indonesia.

The three companies are making equity investments in the development of a high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) plant in Pomalaa Block, Vale’s nickel mining and processing complex on the southeastern part of Sulawesi island that broke ground in November. Vale earlier said that investments are estimated to reach up to 67.5 trillion rupiah ($4.5 billion) to develop the block’s mining operations and refinery.

Read more

Volkswagen to invest in mines in bid to become global battery supplier – (CTV News – March 17, 2023)

BERLIN – Volkswagen plans to invest in mines to bring down the cost of battery cells, meet half of its own demand and sell to third-party customers, the carmaker’s board member in charge of technology said.

Its strategy aligns with a wider trend of carmakers seeking greater control over parts of the supply chain traditionally left to third parties, from energy generation to raw material sourcing, as they compete for scarce resources they urgently need to meet electrification targets.

Read more

Mineral-rich North energized by news of VW battery plant – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – March 15,2023)

‘It’s all about connecting our critical mineral producers in the North’ with manufacturers in the South – Pirie

ST. THOMAS — Volkswagen’s announced plans to establish a battery cell plant in Southern Ontario is good news for Northern Ontario, says Mines Minister and Timmins MPP George Pirie. “If we’re going to secure our supply chain (for the electric vehicle industry) we have to get the minerals out of the ground in Northern Ontario,” Pirie told The Daily Press.

“Nickel is a critical mineral, copper, niobium, rare earths, lithium – we’ve got them all. There are four huge low-grade deposits in the Timmins vicinity including Canada Nickel … It’s a hugely exciting time.

Read more

Tesla, GM Follow Own Shareholders With Push Into Lithium Miners – by Geoffrey Morgan and Esha Dey (Bloomberg News – March 7, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — As automakers seek stakes in lithium miners to lock in supplies for electric-vehicle batteries, they’re following a path already forged by their shareholders.

Take Tesla Inc., which is reportedly interested in buying Toronto-listed Sigma Lithium Corp. If Tesla succeeds, it would follow prominent funds including Manulife Financial Corp., 1832 Asset Management, Maven Securities, DZ Bank and several others that have been snapping up Sigma shares, even as they cut exposure to the electric-vehicle maker.

Read more

General Motors Digs Into Mining Business to Lead Race for EV Metals – by David Welch (Bloomberg News – February 17, 2023)

(Bloomberg Businessweek) — General Motors is trying to speed ahead in the race for metals underpinning the industry’s shift to electric cars. The US automaker is competing for a stake in Vale’s base metals unit, people familiar with the matter said this month. A deal may give GM access to the Brazilian mining giant’s copper and nickel resources that are key to making EV batteries.

GM has made several such wagers recently, buying equity while rivals mostly sign supply deals. Last month, it bought a $650 million stake in Lithium Americas to help develop Nevada’s Thacker Pass mine, which may support output of as many as 1 million EVs a year.

Read more

Massive new North American lithium mine closer to reality with GM investment in Lithium Americas – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – January 31, 2023)

Lithium Americas Corp. has landed a US$650-million financing with General Motors Co. that moves the Canadian lithium company closer to breaking ground on a massive lithium mine that should help alleviate a North American shortfall for the key battery metal.

Detroit-based GM is set to become the largest shareholder in Lithium Americas, with a stake of just under 10 per cent, and it will also be entitled to exclusive supplies of the lithium carbonate produced during the first 10 years of the mine’s operation.

Read more

Billions in new auto investment ‘just the beginning’ — Fedeli – by Dave Waddell (Windsor Star – January 18, 2023)

Ontario Minister of Economic Development Vic Fedeli is optimistic that landing the crown jewel of an electric battery factory in Windsor, as part of $16 billion in new automaker investments in the province over the past two years, represents just the beginning.

The transformation of the automotive sector is only in its infancy and Fedeli said Ontario is prioritizing building out the critical minerals mining and processing sector, landing a second battery plant and securing as much of the battery supply chain as possible.

Read more

Ontario has much at stake in Japan’s losing EV race – by David Olive (Toronto Star – January 19, 2023)

Japan has ceded its leadership in consumer electronics. It’s in no one’s interest it follow that path in autos, not least the Ontario communities with a stake, David Olive writes.

Japan is at risk of losing the race in all-electric vehicles (EVs). And that poses a danger for southern Ontario, with its three Japanese auto plants. Among the 35 models in Bloomberg’s latest ranking of the best performing EVs only three are Japanese vehicles.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest automaker, concentrates on hybrid vehicles, which it pioneered with the first gas-electric Prius a quarter of a century ago. As do most Japanese automakers.

Read more

Canada can build an electric vehicle industry worth $48B a year — but it must act now: report – by Don Pitts (CBC News Business – September 14, 2022)

Canada needs a strategy quickly in order to capitalize on payoffs in jobs and economic growth

As climate change shows its growing destructive power in floods and droughts worldwide, even strong advocates for the transition from using fossil fuels to battery-powered electric vehicles know EVs won’t be enough to fix the problem.

But as the North American auto show opens to glitz and fanfare, a new report from two reputable Canadian research groups says that Canada has a brief window to be a major player in transforming an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually into something more climate friendly — and to make money doing it.

Read more