For a few months now, Ellen has been connecting two Danish islands. But what's different about this ferry's passage is she does this without noise or smoke. Inaugurated in august, Ellen is the most powerful 100% electric-ferry in the world and is paving the way to a concrete transformation of maritime traffic. This project was co-financed by the European Union in cooperation with islanders eager to achieve carbon neutrality. She's not the first electric ferry but, as E-ferry project coordinator, Trine Heinemann explains, there are two reasons why she is so special: "Firstly, we’re fully-electric, so there is no oil on board to run anything on the ship. And secondly, it’s the distance that we cover, which 22 nautical miles. That’s seven times what existing ships have covered. And the longer distances you start covering, the most usable your technology becomes. And I think in Europe it’s about 80 % of the ferry transportation that can be covered in a 22 nautical miles range."
Audi has announced an acceleration of its electric vehicle plans with an updated investment schedule, including €12 billion in electric vehicles. “With our Consistently Audi strategy, we are accelerating our roadmap towards electrification. Our investment planning takes this into account. At around €12 billion, we will spend more than ever before on electric mobility by 2024.”
BMW and its partner Great Wall Motor said they plan to build a plant in China with a capacity of 160,000 cars per year, and which will produce BMW’s electric MINI brand and Great Wall Motor models.
MG Motor India Pvt Ltd - one of the new entrants in the Indian automobile market - on Tuesday announced its partnership with Umicore, a lithium battery recycle solutions provider, for effective life cycle management of the lithium-ion batteries to be used in the e-ZS electric vehicle.
A Chinese company registered in the Cayman Islands has made a bid to buy up collapsed West Australian lithium miner Alita Resources. On Friday KordaMentha, the administrators appointed to the miner in August, announced China Hydrogen Energy Limited had entered into a binding $70 million loan facility agreement to scoop up the business. Most of the money would be used to pay out Alita's major shareholder and secured creditor, lithium miner Galaxy Resources, which took on US$30 million (AUD $44 million) worth of debt from the company in August. Alita owns the Bald Hill lithium and tantalum mine in WA's Goldfields region, as well as a 15 per cent stake in the nearby Cowan lithium project.
R.P. Gupta, additional secretary of NITI Aayog – an Indian government think tank – has announced that New Delhi is now in the process of finalizing a new national energy policy. Aside from an emphasis on energy efficiency, the Indian government’s new energy policy will primarily focus on Indian-made battery cells for electric vehicles, in addition to demand creation initiatives and new incentives.
The potential to extract lithium, manufacture products such as batteries, and recycle them at the end of their life, all in Australia, has taken a step forward with Lithium Australia announcing a 73.7 per cent interest in Envirostream, an almost 50 point increase. Currently, Envirostream is the only business in Australia that, at its Melbourne facility, can collect, sort, shred, and separate all components of lithium ion batteries. The facility has the capacity to recycle up to 3,000tpa of batteries, and in FY19 Envirostream recycled 149t of spent batteries.
Portuguese mining company Lusorecursos said on Wednesday it was negotiating a 400 million euro funding deal with several international players as it gears up to explore for lithium in the country’s northern region.
All in all, while we remain bullish on the outlook for demand for lithium-ion batteries, the market is facing a triple-negative of oversupply, excess stock and underwhelming demand. The supply chain has started to react to the oversupply situation, which should bring forward the start of a recovery. Stronger demand from Europe will be another bullish development. While we still expect lower prices and more producer restraint in 2020, where we previously expected no price recovery until 2021, we now think prices could stabilize later in 2020 and might increase from there.
According to Korea's battery industry tracker SNE Research, the market for EV batteries - the most expensive and important component in the vehicles - is set to grow 23% a year to reach $167 billion by 2025, making it bigger than the global memory chip market which is expected to be worth $150 billion by then. In 2018, South Korea's SK Innovation beat its larger, local rival LG Chem to a multibillion dollar deal to supply German carmaker Volkswagen with electric vehicle batteries in the United States. Stung by missing out on the VW deal to the new kid on the block and the departure of 77 employees for its rival across the Han River in Seoul, LGC took SKI to court in the United States in April accusing it of misappropriating trade secrets. Fast forward seven months and the two firms have hit each other with U.S. lawsuits for battery patent infringements in a bitter row that threatens to disrupt the launches of electric vehicles (EVs) by some of the world's biggest carmakers.
Private equity groups and other investors have grown emboldened by the lithium industry’s malaise, forging plans to invest billions of dollars in mining projects to develop the electric vehicle battery metal. But Carlyle Group-backed Traxys and other nontraditional investors and lenders say they sense a buying opportunity, as electric vehicles grow in popularity and fossil fuels are phased out in a rising number of countries. “Now is the time to invest,” said Erez Ichilov, managing director of Traxys Projects, which earlier this month launched a $2 billion fund with metals financier the Pallinghurst Group to invest across the electric vehicle supply chain. “When you look at how under-invested this value chain is, $2 billion is not a lot.” That and a recent spate of other deals should help bridge what analysts forecast will be an under-investment by the lithium industry in coming years.
Lithium's transition from off-Broadway commodity to the mainstream will take a big step forward in about seven months' time, when London's 142-year-old commodities exchange is expected to launch its first lithium contract. Trading of lithium futures on the LME could help Australian banks lend to the local lithium mining sector, which has expanded from one to seven mines over the past three years. Mr Chamberlain said offering futures contracts for lithium carbonate was the LME's default position, but not its final position.
Not every advance in electric-vehicle technology takes place inside the sterile calm of a research laboratory. BMW AG, Volkswagen AG’s Audi and a Silicon Valley-based battery maker are helping push the boundaries by racing electric-powered cars through Saudi Arabia, New York, London and Seoul at speeds topping 170 mph. Breakthroughs made by competitors in Formula E, which started its sixth season over the weekend, are being incorporated into family SUVs and sedans –- and even India’s electric rickshaws -- as manufacturers seek to improve and extend their electric lineups while nations gradually phase out gas guzzlers.
Chile is the world’s No. 2 producer of lithium, behind Australia. The metal is a key component of batteries used in cell phones, electric vehicles and other consumer goods. SQM said late Wednesday profits had plunged in the third quarter, ahead of the protests, on sagging prices for the key battery metal and softer-than-expected demand this year from China. SQM said prices had fallen 28%, though sales volumes continued to grow, up 12% through September, and up 6% over the second quarter. Lithium revenues fell 26.4% over the same quarter the previous year, as falling prices continued to offset increasing sales volumes.
Panasonic Corp has no plans to build a new battery plant for Tesla Inc in China, the Japanese company’s chief executive said, as it struggles to make profits from its existing battery business with the electric vehicle maker. Reuters has reported that Tesla is in advanced talks with South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd to source batteries for vehicles to be made in its Shanghai plant.
In a new industry trend analysis, Fitch Solutions lays out the base, bullish and bear case demand trends for EV battery metals over the coming years in Europe, the US and China. Fitch maintains that China will remain the key driver of direct EV metals demand across base and bear scenarios on the back of ambitious EV production objectives and government support, but says growth in this regard will tail off from 2025 onwards as automakers’ production targets come to an end. Under its bullish scenario, Fitch forecasts the EU will witness the fastest average growth in indirect demand for cobalt (25.8% y-o-y), nickel (31.0% y-o-y) and lithium (27.9% y-o-y) up to 2028 – ahead of China and the US, citing one reason is that EU EV sales stem from a lower base in comparison to the US and China and, as such, the potential for growth is higher.
Pilbara Minerals is taking a wary approach to its plan for stage two and three expansion projects at the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia. The company has proposed to expand Pilgangoora’s capacity to five million tonnes a year with the stage two expansion, before growing to 7.5 million tonnes a year through stage three. “(But) given the current market conditions, we have taken the prudent approach to staging our expansion program and have committed to only expanding as and when required by our customer base or when demand supports it,” Pilbara Minerals chairman Ken Brinsden said.
No other country comes close to China in terms of scale and adoption of new-energy vehicles. More electric cars have been sold in Shanghai alone than in all of the U.S., U.K., or Germany. By 2032 sales of electric cars are expected to overtake sales of new combustion-engine vehicles in the country, according to BloombergNEF, Bloomberg LP’s primary research service on energy transition. GM is trying to keep pace as competitors move ahead with aggressive expansion plans despite the ongoing sales downturn.
“Don’t think that the mining operations in the DRC are the only problems we are facing,” said Nehrenheim. “There is a whole bouquet of labour rights, social rights, human rights and environmental rights that we need to track down,” she said. For the startup, the solution has been to shorten supply chains. Nehrenheim says Northvolt will source directly from the miners, which will make it easier to trace materials. The company also has plans to bring cathode manufacturing under its thumb. “We are looking for ways to bring the graphite production to Europe,” she explained.
German carmaker BMW on Thursday said it had ordered more than 10 billion euros’ ($11.07 billion) worth of battery cells from Chinese battery cell maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co and Samsung SDI. BMW said it would get the cobalt it needs for cell production from mines in Australia and Morocco and provide it to CATL and Samsung SDI. It said it would source the lithium from mines including in Australia.
European recyclers have called for changes to EU regulations on hazardous metals and waste shipment that “sometimes stand in the way” of a fully European electric car manufacturing value chain. European battery recyclers are beginning to test-run these chains. But “EU regulations can sometimes stand in the way,” said Jan Tytgat, from Umicore, a Belgian materials technology company which is now the world’s largest recycler of precious metals. Namely, the metals required are beginning to hit snags in the EU’s chemicals legislation, REACH, which covers hazardous substances across the member countries. The shift to a model more reflective of the China’s lithium-ion cycle, where recycling is seen less a subject of waste disposal than as a potential resource. “In a sense, China has already achieved the circular economy we are talking about in the West,” says Hans Eric Malin, an expert in batteries second life. “Here, the motivator has been to get rid of our waste in a responsible and sustainable way, in China, the driver for recycling is materials, materials, materials”. “That perspective is more important than any technological advancement,” he added.
Galaxy Resources is cutting back activities at the Mt Cattlin lithium mine in Western Australia, riding out poor market conditions until the demand for battery minerals improves. This decision comes despite the Ravensthorpe spodumene and tantalum operation delivering a record year for production volume, operating cost and product quality in 2019. Galaxy stated its corporate strategy for Mt Cattlin in 2020 was “to prioritise value over volume”, to reduce costs, maintain positive cash margins and preserve the life of the mine, while still meeting current customer demand."
A new pro-mining investment policy, more free trade deals, and an incoming “geopolitical” European Commission signals the EU will stake more claim on critical raw materials. Raw materials experts from Japan and the United States descend on Brussels this week for an annual trilateral with Europe. The conversation is likely to focus on supply risks to critical raw materials, among them those in high demand for the low-carbon transition, such as rare earths used in wind turbines, and lithium used in electric car batteries. Though generally an informal meet, global trade tension will give the talks a more geopolitical edge. Australia, Canada and South Korea delegates have joined as observers. China, although it produces 70% of the world’s raw materials, is not involved.
Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) new ID.3 electric vehicle will be 40% cheaper to build than the electric version of its Golf model, Chief Executive Herbert Diess told investors on Monday. “If you focus on an electric platform, all in all it accounts for a 40% reduction against the predecessor electric Golf,” Diess said. “Most of it from cells and the battery system. Around 5-10% comes from dedicating an entire plant to electric vehicles.”
@colinmckerrache: All signs point to a huge increase in EV sales in Europe in 2020. Automakers are actively pushing demand into next year to help hit their CO2 targets and avoid fines.
@RockTechLithium: “The @IEA reckons that, excluding coal projects already planned, batteries have the potential to cut the number of coal plants built in India after 2030 by three-quarters” | @TheEconomist
@RodneyHooper13: Ford Mustang first year production capped at 50,000 due to battery constraints...
@DKurac: Weima's 2nd model WM7 sedan to be presented in April 2020, officially launched in 2021, WM said. The car will have >700 km (NEDC)/ >600 km (WLTP) range, 80% charged in 30 minutes. Weima, Prologium 5 GWh solid state battery factory should be finished by 2020 end.
@RodneyHooper13: While a $100 deposit may lead to a lower conversion rate, if Tesla reach 300,000 actual orders that’s 30GWh of battery demand. Approximately 24KT of lithium. Tesla got another 41,000 Cybertruck orders since yesterday.
@RodneyHooper13: Despite what I would call an interesting design Tesla has nearly 150,000 pre orders. My model for 2023 expected 150k. Given the likely battery pack size and BMW’s recent order increase of $4bn Ford’s F150 BEV launch in 2021, lithium demand is looking up
@DKurac: Ganfeng Lithium solid state battery development entered pilot run phase, samples have been sent to customers for tests. We think it won't be long before mass production, the co said. So far, 8 China auto co's and 7 EV battery manufacturers revealed solid state battery RnD plans.
@JoseLazuen: BMW orders EUR 10 Billion of battery cells from CATL and Samsung SDI to underpin its #EV plans in EU and China. CATL's German plant in Erfurt will feed BMW Leipzig plant where the "i" EV family is assembled. Samsung's plant in Göd, Hungary will feed BMW/Mini plant in Graz, Austria
@Thematicafunds: Goldman Sachs investment forum today and where investors should position themselves. The answer => disruptive trends. The EV thematic was a hot topic
@JamesTFrith: Using lightweight pack housing Lucid have pushed Formula-E pack energy densities to 216Wh/kg, 20% higher than the best commercial packs today... expect to see these lightweight materials being used in high-end EVs soon