7 min read

πŸ”‹ Battery Monday by The EV Universe

The global sitrep for batteries Q1 2021; Vertically stacked batteries in EV; Biden's recycling push and lots more.

Welcome to The EV Universe's first Monday edition.

Our main topics for today are:

πŸ”‹ Batteries and Mining.

Click tip: If you're on Twitter, here are great accounts to follow, recommended by the EV Twitter itself:

And if you're there already, make sure you follow us @TheEVuniverse.

- Jaan

caption for image

Global Situation Report (aka Battery Sitrepβ„’)

Image: Adamas Intelligence (link)

Here's how the Q1 of 2021 looks like in the EV battery applications:

  1. CATL: 15,1 GWh (31,5%)
  2. LG Energy Solution: 9,8 GWh (20,5%)
  3. Panasonic: 8 GWh (16,7%)
  4. BYD: 3,2 GWh (6,8%)
  5. Samsung SDI: 2,5 GWh (5,3%)
  6. SK Innovation: 2,4 GWh (5,1%)
  7. CALB: 1,3 GWh (2,7%)
  8. AESC: 1 GWh (2,1%)
  9. Guoxuan: 0,9 GWh (1,9%)
  10. PEVE: 0,6 GWh (1,3%)

The big picture - these 44,8 GWh listed would power about a million EVs with an average battery pack of 50 kWh.

*There numbers vary from the picture because they're from a different source (link).

Battery plants and tech

CATL's R&D Center (Image: Reuters)

⁍ +80 GWh: CATL considers an 80 GWh battery factory in Shanghai, near the Tesla plant. (link) This is where the cell-to-chassis technology would be first implemented, which allows the automakers to skip the modules and the battery pack housing and integrate the cells directly to the chassis. Ditching the pack would mean more room for extra cells, more 'zap for the buck', increasing range possibilities.

⁍ +5 GWh: Lion Electric announced its battery plant site: YMX International Aerocity, Mirabel, Québec. The battery innovation plant will produce 5 GWh / year, which translates to around 14k medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicles (pdf).

⁍ +100...250 GWh: Tesla has officially applied to manufacture battery cells at Giga Berlin. These cells manufactured will most likely be Tesla's new 4680 cells that are currently being ramped up at the Fremont plant (link). In November last year, Elon Musk said in an interview about Giga Berlin (video):

It will be capable of over 100 GWh per year and possibly over time, it will be going over 200 to 250 GWh. I’m pretty confident that at that point, it will be the largest battery cell plant in the world.

⁍ +6 GWh: AESC will build a battery plant inside the Nissan plant in Sunderland, UK. Opening in 2024, it'll start at a capacity of 6 GWh/year with plans to increase it to 18...20 GWh. (link)
For context - 6 GWh would power almost 100k Nissan LEAFs with 62 kWh batteries.
My LEAF is also made in the Sunderland factory, btw.

⁍ +? GWh: According to Nikkei, Nissan is also going to partner with a Chinese-owned battery maker, investing ~$1.8B to the new battery plants, one in Japan and one in the UK. These will be operated by Envision AESC group and have a planned capacity of 700k EVs per year (link).

⁍ Rumor: Stellantis considers a battery plant in Italy? (link).

⁍ LG Chem will supply its first lithium-ion cells with the new NCMA (Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese-Aluminium) cathode material to Tesla, for the China-made Model Y (link).
What's special about the NCMA cathode? It has a low cobalt content of just 5%, with 85% nickel, 5% manganese, and 5% aluminum. Cobalt boosts battery safety, but is rather expensive - LG Chem used aluminum for that. Connection -> These will also be used by the Ultium platform.

⁍ Page-Roberts, a UK-based start-up, claims it can boost EV range by 30% by mounting the battery pack of the car (normally in the floor) in the cabin vertically, between the two rows of seats, also turning the backseats to face the rear window (link). Cool: low seating position like a sportscar. Not cool: I get dizzy sitting backward in a car.
Also, imagine going the EV-like 0-60mph with this in the back seat, throwing you away from the seat not towards it like in the front.


πŸ•΅οΈ What I'm reading:

  • Intercalation Station, a great weekly newsletter digging deeper into the battery tech. Check it out here: (link), made by Nicholas Yiu, Andrew Wang, and Ethan Alter.
  • Tesla's Conflict Minerals Report: (link)
  • MIT lays out the questions that need answers about lithium-metal and solid-state batteries (link)
  • California's Air Resources Board workshop, planning to establish battery pack durability requirements (link).

Recycling

⁍ US President Joe Biden's electric vehicle plan includes a battery recycling push, per Reuters (link). Looks like the administration is looking to be involved in each step of the EV battery supply chain, as they are reportedly looking for ways to reduce metal usage in new battery chemistries, source the needed minerals from ally countries (link), and direct investments into recycling projects and scientific research.

⁍ A report by UTS-ISF for Earthworks from April says recycling has the potential to reduce primary (mined) demand compared to total demand of lithium by 25%, of cobalt and nickel by 35%, and copper by 55% in 2040 (pdf).

⁍ HOBI International and Retriev Technologies partnered up to collect and recycle large-format EV batteries in North America. Retriev has already processed over 30M pounds of lithium batteries over the last 25 years. (link)

⁍ Posco (65%), the South Korean steel company, and Huayou Cobalt (35%) launched a joint venture named Posco Hy Clean Metal to set up an EV lithium-ion battery recycling business. With ~$110M investment, the processing plant will be located in Gwangyang, South Korea (link).


πŸ’» What I'm attending: Battery Pub

The Battery Pub is a European version of the "Battery Brunch".

Battery Brunch already brings together 4000+ professionals from 600 organizations, including Nissan, Tesla, Panasonic, Apple, Voltaiq, Google, A123, FCA, Rivian, Form Energy, LG Chem, Stanford, MIT, and more.We aim to create the same in the EU!
  • June 11th, (this Friday), 4 pm BST
  • Free
  • Great for networking and discussions
  • Register here: (link). Note, the initial capacity of 150 registrants is met already, but joining a waitlist might get you in if they find more topic leaders.
  • And no, this is not sponsored, I just love what they do.

In the US?

  • The next Battery Brunch will happen on 26th June, 11 am PDT
  • Register here (link)

Acquisitions and Joint ventures

⁍ Akasol, a German battery systems manufacturer, has been acquired by BorgWarner, which now owns 89% of the company (link). This marks another feat of BorgWarner in the quest of becoming an important systems supplier for the new electrified world.

Connection: BW also acquired Delphi Technologies, the supplier for electronics and power electronics (link), has announced a new electric motor for commercial vehicles, and supplies the drive module for Aiways U5 (link).

⁍ $3.1M grant from Tesla and $2.9M from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) went to the Dalhousie University (Canada) researchers Jeff Dahn, Chongyin Yang, and Michael Metzger for further research into lowering the cost of batteries, increasing the lifetime and energy density, maintaining and improving the safety and increasing the sustainability of batteries and energy storage systems. (link)

As we know, Jeff Dahn has long been behind Tesla's battery research and renewed the contract with Tesla in January, for the next five years. Per contract Tesla funds Dahn's lab and Β 'claims exclusive rights to the developments and inventions that will be used in it.'

⁍ Carrar, the developer of a proprietary two-phase cooling system for EV batteries (video), is raising a seed round led by Gentherm (link).

New Research

⁍ A Saudi Arabian research team published a study about extracting battery-grade lithium cost-effectively'ish from the seawater (link).

As usual, solutions from the lab-to-real-world can be quite the leap, but if this were to prove successful at scale, it would mean a great deal to the whole EV industry. Our oceans contain about 5,000 times more lithium than the landmass, but the main problem so far is that it's spread out, with a very low average concentration.


🦁 A silly battery joke:

What did the lion name its new Tesla?

- Li-ion

Btw, anyone that you tell this joke to, must become a subscriber.


Mining

⁍ Tesla's chairwoman, Robyn Denholm, confirmed Tesla is aiming to secure $1B/year worth of battery minerals, mainly nickel and lithium, from Australia. Denham claimed Tesla already sources 3/4 of its lithium feedstock and over 1/3 of its nickel from Australia (link). Musk also confirmed this on Twitter:

That's it for the Battery Monday, folks! See you on Wednesday!

As usual, let me know if this newsletter was absolutely ⚑ Β or numbingly πŸ’€

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