A surplus of cobalt chemicals used to make high-power lithium batteries has seen Chinese refiners switch to producing metal, sending prices down 30% in recent months.
The electric-vehicle revolution is expected to boost demand and prices for cobalt, which is critical to the current generation of lithium-ion technologies. However, such a shift is unlikely to happen until the next decade, when production and sales of electric cars are really seen ramping up significantly.
Volkswagen is investing $100 million to increase its stake in US battery start-up Quantumscape and “accelerate” commercialisation of innovative solid-state battery technology.
VW said the deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will make it Quantumscape’s largest automotive shareholder and will give the car giant a seat on the board.
Arizona-based Sion Power is to launch production of its patented Licerion Ion rechargeable lithium metal batteries by the end of this year from a facility at its base in Tuscson.
The privately-owned firm is targeting the electric vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles market with its “ultra-high energy density” battery tech.
Japanese car giant Toyota has confirmed plans to acquire a 15% stake in Australian-based lithium mining company Orocobre with an estimated investment of AUD292 million ($229m).
The move will help secure stable supplies of a key mineral for future electric vehicle batteries to meet anticipated market demand, Toyota said.
Electric vehicle penetration at 20% of the global car fleet will not be reached by 2025, according to Menahem Anderman (pictured), the renowned battery and EV market analyst.
Speaking at AABC Europe, part of a conference series Anderman founded nearly 20 years ago, he said the age old arguments of lithium-ion battery costs remain the key barrier to market, though pack size and range have changed enormously in the last five years. Auto OEMs are offering a plethora of battery-powered vehicles with more than 180 available across the globe with the great majority being made in China.
Solid-state lithium battery technology developed by a Canadian utility has been licensed for use in electric vehicle batteries made for the Chinese market.
Hydro-Québec said the licensing deal with Dongshi Kingpower Science and Technology includes cooperating on building a pilot battery assembly line at Kingpower’s factory in China.
German automotive supplier Continental is reportedly mulling investments in solid-state battery production in a bid to compete with electric vehicle battery manufacturers in the US and Asia.
CEO Elmar Degenhart (pictured) was quoted as telling German trade publication Automobilwoche: “We could well imagine getting into the production of innovative batteries. That also goes for producing battery cells.”