Stories impacting the global battery industry

May 2020

HYUNDAI MOTOR, HANWHA Q CELLS JOIN HANDS FOR ESS DEVELOPMENT
yna.kr

Hyundai Motor Group, South Korea's leading carmaker, said Sunday that it has joined hands with local solar cells and modules manufacturer Hanwha Q Cells to develop energy storage system with used electric vehicle batteries. Under the memorandum of understanding, the two sides will cooperate to find a business solution that recycles EV batteries and makes ESS at a lower cost. They plan to develop home-use ESS products together, targeting European and North American customers.



SAMSUNG SDI INJECTS CAPITAL INTO JV FOR EV BATTERY MATERIALS
www.theinvestor.co.kr

South Korean battery maker Samsung SDI said on May 29 it has started injecting capital into EcoPro EM, a joint venture with EcoPro BM, a supplier of electric vehicle battery materials to Samsung. According to Samsung SDI, it will fund a total of 120 billion won ($96.9 million) with EcoPro BM into EcoPro EM. The JV is expected to begin construction of a cathode material plant in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, within this year. The plant will start production of cathode materials for NCA (nickel cobalt aluminum) 811 batteries in the first quarter of 2022.



GERMANY'S BOLD NEW ECONOMIC PLAN FOR A POST-CORONAVIRUS WORLD
www.aljazeera.com

Key Pillars of Merkel's Activist Strategy: 100 billion-euro fund to buy stakes in companies, to be increased if needed; German states encouraged to set up similar funds to safeguard local champions; Takeover controls are being extended to give the government authority to block foreign purchases for “potential interference”; Seeding burgeoning industries like artificial intelligence, battery-cell production and clean energy; promoting local suppliers to reduce reliance on companies outside the EU.



VOLKSWAGEN TO ACQUIRE STAKE IN BOTH CHINESE BATTERY SUPPLIER AND NEV CARMAKER
roskill.com

Volkswagen AG is reportedly in final talks to close two investment deals in the Chinese EV space, with EV manufacturer JAC and battery maker Guoxuan High-Tech. The German carmaker is expected to acquire 50% of Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Holding, the parent company of EV partner JAC Motors, for US$491M. It is also set to become the largest shareholder in battery maker Guoxuan High-Tech, a deal in the making since January 2020. Volkswagen is, alongside Tesla and GM, one of the few automakers already preparing the ground for mass-scale EV manufacturing. Investment by the German company in a rival automaker points to its intention to grow its EV presence inorganically in the highly competitive Chinese NEV market.



ALBEMARLE SAYS IT WANTS FULL CONTROL OF GREENBUSHES LITHIUM MINE
www.reuters.com

Albemarle Corp said on Thursday it wants to take control of Australia’s Greenbushes, the world’s largest lithium mine, signaling it intends to block any rival from buying Tianqi Lithium Corp’s controlling stake. Tianqi, which owns 51% of Greenbushes to Albemarle’s 49%, is selling some of its prized assets, including Greenbushes, to pay down debt.



VOLKSWAGEN BECOMES BIGGEST SHAREHOLDER OF CHINA'S EV BATTERY MAKER GUOXUAN
uk.reuters.com

German automaker Volkswagen AG has become the biggest shareholder of China’s electric vehicle battery maker Guoxuan High-Tech Co Ltd with a 26.5% stake, Guoxuan said in stock exchange filings on Thursday.



RENAULT TO JOIN PSA, TOTAL IN ELECTRIC BATTERIES VENTURE - MACRON
www.reuters.com

Carmaker Renault will join PSA and energy major Total in an all-French venture manufacturing batteries for electric and hybrid cars, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.



DAIMLER TO INVEST IN CHINESE EV #BATTERY MAKER FARASIS' $480 MILLION IPO: SOURCES
www.reuters.com

Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) plans to invest in Farasis Energy’s planned $480 million IPO, aiming to ensure a stable supply of batteries from the Chinese firm as it ramps up electric vehicle production, three people familiar with the matter said. The plan has yet to be finalised and is subject to change, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the discussions were private. The size of the potential investment was not immediately clear, they added.



EU AIMS TO SUPPLY 80% OF OF ITS INTERNAL LITHIUM NEEDS BY 2025 FROM EUROPEAN MINES
www.spglobal.com

The EU is making progress in becoming self-sufficient in lithium, used for lithium ion EV batteries, Sefcovic said. There are four sustainable lithium mining projects underway in Europe that are set to meet up to 80% of its battery sector needs by 2025. The EC is also working on a raw materials alliance, similar to the public-private European Battery Alliance model, to focus on removing bottlenecks in critical raw materials supply chains for EU industry. The EU is expected to need up to 18 times more lithium and five times more cobalt by 2030 to meet demand from renewable energy, e-mobility, defense and space sectors, Sefcovic said.



TESLA FILES TO SELL NEW MODEL 3 WITH CHEAPER LITHIUM IRON PHOSPHATE BATTERIES
electrek.co

Tesla has filed with the Chinese government for approval to sell a new version of the Model 3 with cheaper lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. The main disadvantage of LFP batteries is their lower-energy density, but CATL, which is believed to be Tesla’s supplier, has made improvements in LFP energy density and longevity.



NOT ALL ELECTRIC VEHICLES ARE CARS, YOU KNOW
www.bloomberg.com

Two- and three-wheeled EVs are responsible for more avoided oil consumption than any other category. Here’s what the long term looks like: Demand recovery next year in the auto sector would lead to steadily increasing demand from for oil, but if and only if there’s no technological change. Fuel efficiency improvements bend that curve slightly. Electric vehicles tip it over, causing demand to peak in 2032 and tumble lower than 2019 levels within just a few years.



CHINA'S YAHUA STARTS NEW 20,000 TPY LITHIUM HYDROXIDE PLANT
www.reuters.com

China’s Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group said on Tuesday it had put a new 20,000 tonnes per year lithium hydroxide plant into production. It more than doubles Yahua’s previous 12,000 tonnes per year capacity for lithium hydroxide, a chemical used in electric vehicle batteries.



GM SAYS IT IS 'ALMOST THERE' ON MILLION-MILE ELECTRIC VEHICLE BATTERY
www.reuters.com

General Motors Co is “almost there” on developing an electric vehicle battery that will last one million miles, a top executive said on Tuesday. The automaker also is working on next-generation batteries even more advanced than the new Ultium battery that it unveiled in March, according to GM Executive Vice President Doug Parks, who was speaking at an online investor conference. He did not specify a timeline for introduction of the million-mile battery, but said “multiple teams” at GM are working on such advances as zero-cobalt electrodes, solid state electrolytes and ultra-fast charging.



POSCO CHEMICAL TRIPLES CAPACITY IN CATHODE PRODUCTION TO MEET EV BATTERY DEMAND
pulsenews.co.kr

Posco Chemical Co., a refractory and secondary battery materials making unit of South Korean steel giant Posco, has completed expansion to triple capacity in producing high-nickel cathode, a key component for electric vehicle batteries, to meet growing demand for environmentally-friendly vehicles. Posco Chemical said on Thursday that it finished construction of a second-stage production line with annual capacity of 25,000 tons at its cathode material facility in Gwangyang in South Jeolla Province. Upon expansion, annual output of high-nickel cathode materials used in the manufacturing of secondary batteries has been tripled from current 5,000 tons. The company plans to boost annual capacity of its Gwangyang plant to up to 90,000 tons in the future depending on market conditions. The capacity is enough to provide 60 kilowatt-hour high-performing batteries to 750,000 electric cars.



CHINA'S TIANQI LITHIUM TALKING TO BANKS ABOUT EASING LOAN TERMS
www.reuters.com

China’s Tianqi Lithium, one of the world’s top lithium producers, said on Friday it was talking to banks about adjusting the terms of its debt as a key repayment on a loan looms and the lithium market tanks. It agreed to buy a 23.8% stake in Chilean miner Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile, or SQM, in May 2018 for $4.1 billion, most of which came from a $3.5 billion syndicated loan led by state-owned bank Citic Group. On top of the loan, Tianqi has a $5.6 million interest payment due on May 28 on a $300 million bond maturing in 2022. The yield on the bond has ballooned out to around 60%, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, as investors sell off on perceived higher risk of a Tianqi default.



EXCLUSIVE: TESLA'S SECRET BATTERIES AIM TO REWORK THE MATH FOR ELECTRIC CARS AND THE GRID
www.reuters.com

The new “million mile” battery at the center of Tesla’s strategy was jointly developed with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd and deploys technology developed by Tesla in collaboration with a team of academic battery experts recruited by Musk, three people familiar with the effort said. The cost of CATL’s cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate battery packs has fallen below $80 per kilowatt-hour, with the cost of the battery cells dropping below $60/kWh, the sources said. CATL’s low-cobalt NMC battery packs are close to $100/kWh. Auto industry executives have said $100/kWh for battery packs is the level at which electric vehicles reach rough parity with internal combustion competitors. Tesla also plans to implement new high-speed, heavily automated battery manufacturing processes designed to reduce labor costs and increase production in massive “terafactories” about 30 times the size of the company’s sprawling Nevada “gigafactory” — a strategy telegraphed in late April to analysts by Musk.



"THERE IS CURRENTLY NOT TOO LITTLE DEMAND, BUT TOO LITTLE ELECTRIC CARS,"
www.spiegel.de

[Translated form German] If you ask a VW dealer about the electric model ID.3 these days, you will not understand. "Check back in June," says a salesperson who knows what he's doing, but looks frustrated. VW also has delivery difficulties with other electric models. "If you order an e-Up now, you will get one at the end of the year," explains VW dealer Wolf Warncke from Tarmstedt (Lower Saxony) when asked about the small car with battery drive. The E-Golf is even sold out for 2020, a VW spokesman confirms. "There is currently not too little demand, but too little electric cars," says Warncke.



ELECTRIC CAR SALES IN EUROPE JUMPED 57% IN Q1 2020
www.euractiv.com

Registrations of electric cars in Europe jumped 57.4% in the first quarter of 2020, but still only accounted for 4.3% of total registrations, auto industry data showed on Tuesday, as carmakers struggle to meet tough new anti-pollution rules.



CARMAKERS URGED TO INVEST IN MINES TO AVOID BATTERY METAL PINCH
www.bloomberg.com

Lithium producers alone will need an estimated $25 billion to $30 billion in financing over the next decade to meet demand, BNEF said in a February report. Automakers are seeking more involvement in the riskier parts of their supply chains, Scott Tozier, chief finance officer of Albemarle Corp., the top lithium producer, said in an interview.



ALBEMARLE EXPRESSES INTEREST IN TIANQI'S STAKE IN GREENBUSHES LITHIUM MINE
mobile.reuters.com

Albemarle Corp said on Thursday it was interested in buying all or part of Tianqi Lithium Corp's controlling stake in Australia's Greenbushes, the world's largest lithium mine. Already the world's largest producer of lithium for electric vehicle batteries, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Albemarle would cement its control over the global market for the white metal were it to take control of Greenbushes, a hard rock lithium mine.



ALBEMARLE 'SLOW-WALKS' AUSTRALIAN SPENDING, CIRCLES TIANQI
www.afr.com

Spending by the resources sector has been slashed again, with US lithium giant Albemarle the latest company to reduce spending on Australian projects. Albemarle announced that spending on its Kemerton lithium hydroxide project in Western Australia would be reduced for the second time in nine months, but the reduced spending could free up cash for the company to acquire more Australian lithium assets.



EU INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY LINES NEED STRENGTHENING, COMMISSIONER WARNS
www.ft.com

The commission will warn in an upcoming report that the EU faces “major challenges” to secure supplies of critical raw materials including lithium, cobalt and rare-earth metals used in high-tech industrial goods. To meet climate goals, industries will need 60 times more lithium by 2050, as well as 15 times more cobalt, while demand for rare earths used in permanent magnets required in electric vehicles, robots or wind generators could increase tenfold, Mr Breton said. 



SK INNOVATION TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION ON SECOND GEORGIA BATTERY FACILITY IN JULY
atlanta.cbslocal.com

Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that SK innovation, a developer and manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), will begin construction in July on their second electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Jackson County. This announcement is part of the company’s announced $1.67 billion investment in Georgia. When both facilities are complete in 2023, SK innovation will have the capacity to produce batteries for 310,000 electric vehicles per year to help meet consumer demand.



TESLA SELLS MORE ELECTRIC CARS THAN NEXT TWO BIGGEST EV MAKERS COMBINED
thedriven.io

Tesla sold more electric vehicles than Renault and Volkswagen combined across the globe in the first quarter of 2020, continuing its trend of dominating markets after the Warren Buffet-backed Chinese battery and EV maker BYD took a major hit in sales.



VOLKSWAGEN PLANS TO LAUNCH A FAMILY OF AFFORDABLE ELECTRIC CARS UNDER $22,000
electrek.co

In recent years, EV-producing automakers have focused on expanding choices for all-electric, long-range sedans, SUVs, and pickups. That leaves an opening for smaller electric cars at the lowest price points for mass-market consumers, mostly in Europe and Asia. Volkswagen is planning to fill that gap with a new brand of EVs selling for less than $22,000.



CORONAVIRUS IS FOCUSING ATTENTION ON HOW FRAGILE GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS CAN BE, SO HOW WILL AUSTRALIA RESPOND?
www.abc.net.au

But the coordinated shutdown of economies this year — with the first shutdown occurring in China — has forced the lithium industry to think seriously about its over-reliance on a single country. It turns out the industry is extremely vulnerable to economic disruptions emanating from China. This crisis could accelerate efforts to reconfigure supply chains.



IEA CALLS FOR BOOST TO LITHIUM-ION BATTERY, HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGIES
www.mining.com

The executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, said that the turmoil in the oil sector caused by the covid-19 pandemic gives governments the perfect opportunity to embrace green energy as a source of jobs that also serves climate goals. In an interview with Reuters, Birol said that not only well-established technologies, such as those behind solar and wind generation should receive a boost, but also lithium-ion batteries and the use of electrolysis to produce hydrogen from water should be candidates for subsidies and policy support.



SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON WANTS ITS NEW, HUGE 770 MW BATTERY STORAGE PROCUREMENT ONLINE FAST
pv-magazine-usa.com

Southern Power, a subsidiary of U.S. utility Southern Company, was awarded two projects, both coupled with PV plants owned by Canadian Solar’s Recurrent Energy: 88 MW/352 MWh Garland Project; 72 MW/288 MWh Tranquility Project. NextEra was awarded: 115 MW/460 MWh Blythe 2; 115 MW/460 MWh Blythe 3; 230 MW/920 MWh McCoy project connected to NextEra’s 250 MW McCoy solar farm. TerraGen was awarded the 50 MW/200 MWh Sanborn project and LS Power won a stand-alone 100 MW/400 MWh storage project. These projects are located across Southern California’s Kern, Fresno, Riverside and San Diego counties. The projects have terms varying from 10 years to 20 years. SCE serves 15 million people in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.



from Twitter...
Emmanuel Macron injects €8bn to fuel French car industry revival...
twitter.com

Emmanuel Macron injects €8bn to fuel French car industry revival. EV hockey stick demand is inevitable and Europe is trying to protect their car industry by doing the only right thing.. push the pedal to the metal in the EV race



Nissan transformation plan...
twitter.com

Nissan transformation plan - reducing production capacity, markets, models etc, however, ramping up EVs, 8 BEVs by '23



Emmanuel Macron injects €8bn to fuel French car industry revival
twitter.com

President Emmanuel Macron has announced an €8bn plan to revive France’s motor industry, which has been crippled by the loss of sales and production during the coronavirus crisis and the lockdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the disease. The plan, announced on Tuesday, includes increased subsidies for buyers of electric and hybrid cars and support for research into hydrogen power and self-driving cars. Mr Macron said the aim was to “relocalise” manufacturing in France and “to make France the leading country in Europe for the production of clean vehicles”, with an output target of 1m a year by 2025. He portrayed the recovery plan, which includes €5bn of aid for Renault, as a three-way bargain between the state, manufacturers and employees, with companies investing in production on French soil in exchange for government support.



Electric vehicles now displace a million barrels a day of oil demand...
twitter.com

Electric vehicles now displace a million barrels a day of oil demand. That's 1% of global oil demand in 2019, ~2.5% of transport demand. Most displacement isn't from cars. Or trucks. Or buses. It's from little things, with two and three wheels.



Lithium price update - May following the trend for carbonate as prices continue to slide...
twitter.com

@CDMRawles: Lithium price update - May following the trend for carbonate as prices continue to slide, lowest prices in domestic China market and international markets subsiding towards this level. COVID-19 uncertainty and stock overhang weighing on prices.



Nickel sulphate price update - so far in May prices stable...
twitter.com

@CDMRawles: Nickel sulphate price update - so far in May prices stable (EXW China) but fears growing about ailing demand linked to EV cathode production. International contracts performing but market fears adjustments to volumes moving forward.



The @EU plans significant subsidies for the switch of European car industry towards climate friendly cars...
twitter.com

@lithiumforum: The @EU plans significant subsidies for the switch of European car industry towards climate friendly cars. Tens of billions Euro shall be used to build 2 million charging stations for electric cars. A strong signal.



This was one of the surprising findings from our outlook this year...
twitter.com

@colinmckerrache: This was one of the surprising findings from our outlook this year. The 180 million electric two-wheelers in China and 500,000 e-buses are already putting a bigger dent in oil demand than many people realize.



Beijing opens its largest EV charging station...
twitter.com

@DKurac: Beijing opens its largest EV charging station, China media reports. The underground station has 80 60kW DC and 120 7kW AC chargers that are capable of max. 1.3K charges per day, report added.



Great report about German car industry failure...
twitter.com

@lithiumforum: Great report about German car industry failure - dealers say 40% of their cars sold in past months were electric! Demand very high, but German car makers don't produce enough EV! So @Tesla @Renault will profit. Crazy situation!



Wow. @Reuters suggests that @CATLBattery lithium iron phosphate packs have fallen below 80 $/kWh...
twitter.com

@ICBillyWu: Wow. @Reuters suggests that @CATLBattery lithium iron phosphate packs have fallen below 80 $/kWh with cells below 60 $/kWh. Can see the appeal of @Tesla going for a low-range LFP vehicle in China with improved safety.



Companies starting to favor "just-in-case" supply chain strategies over "just-in-time"...
twitter.com

@LoganGoldieScot: Companies starting to favor "just-in-case" supply chain strategies over "just-in-time", as well as more diversified and automated manufacturing. Changes are afoot.



April South Korea Li2CO3/LiOH imports back towards late '19/Jan '20 trend...
twitter.com

@backstroke_: April South Korea Li2CO3/LiOH imports back towards late '19/Jan '20 trend, LiOH pricing continues trend some more.



China's largest battery maker CATL said its working on cobalt-free battery...
twitter.com

@hjesanderson: China's largest battery maker CATL said its working on cobalt-free battery; RandD going smoothly, is a "completely new, disruptive product." Wonder when will hit the market.



Europe plug-in registration data...
twitter.com

@backstroke_: Europe plug-in registration data. Even after BEV sales took it on the chin, falling ~30% Y/Y in April, '20 YTD remains up ~35% Y/Y. PHEV up near double YTD on '19. Granted, not out of the woods yet.



Kathleen Valley confirmed as a world-class lithium deposit as Mineral Resource increases to 156Mt @ 1.4% Li₂O...
twitter.com

@LiontownRes: Kathleen Valley confirmed as a world-class lithium deposit as Mineral Resource increases to 156Mt @ 1.4% Li₂O. Third successive Mineral Resource upgrade provides strong foundation for updated Pre-Feasibility Study, due for completion late 2020.



Coronavirus sharpens need for EU to bolster resilience of critical industrial supplies...
twitter.com

@LedouxPedailles: ????EU Commissioner: ⛔️Coronavirus sharpens need for EU to bolster resilience of critical industrial supplies; ⛔️EU faces major challenges to secure lithium; ⛔️To meet climate goals, EU will need 60x more lithium by 2050



Albemarle Q1 lithium sales fall 18.9% to US$267M...
twitter.com

@robertbaylis: Albemarle Q1 lithium sales fall 18.9% to US$267M, EBITDA 32% to US$78.6 on lower volume and pricing; headwind predicted for technical/speciality products in Q2... but solid battery demand seen although auto/EV Covid-19 impact expected in H2 results.



Is the battery value chain ready to support the decarbonisation of power and transport?
twitter.com

@WoodMackenzie: Is the battery value chain ready to support the decarbonisation of power and transport? In the WoodMac 2°C scenario, the nickel industry would need to double, cobalt grow five times, and lithium 12 times.



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