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MoU sets out goal to decarbonise Japan’s lithium-ion battery chain

Thu, 10/21/2021 - 15:07 -- paul Crompton

A “Green Electric Vehicle Ecosystem” will be created following a deal between mining firm BHP, battery maker Prime Planet Energy & Solutions (PPES) and Toyota Tsusho Corporation— the trading arm of vehicle maker Toyota Group.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) has established a collaboration framework that begins with Australia’s BHP supplying PPES with nickel sulphate from the former’s production plant in Nickel West, Western Australia.

This will enable Japan’s PPES to develop batteries that will be supplied to EV manufacturers, including fellow Japanese firm Toyota. 

The MoU sets out plans to identify ways to make the Japanese battery supply chain more sustainable by lowering carbon emissions, and implementing standards for end-to-end raw materials traceability, ethical sourcing and human rights reporting. 

The parties will explore the possibility of recycling battery scrap and used batteries at BHP’s Nickel West facility for the processing and production of nickel bearing products. 

BHP chief commercial officer, Vandita Pant, said: “Creating a Green EV Ecosystem is something that could make a real difference for the battery supply chain. 

“It starts with the raw material and we are delighted to supply PPES with nickel sulphate in this partnership where we will work together, with TTC, to create long term success and sustainability.”

Toyota Tsusho Corporation’s chief operating officer for metals division, Masaharu Katayama, said: “This partnership has great potential to secure competitive raw materials for the EV value chains as well as to create battery material recycling loops, which is crucial for EV development in the future.”

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GM honours ex-director with facility to develop next-generation batteries

Thu, 10/14/2021 - 15:14 -- paul Crompton

Vehicle OEM General Motors has revealed plans to accelerate electric vehicle battery technology with a facility dedicated to developing and commercialising better and cheaper next-generation batteries.

New battery technologies like lithium-metal, silicon and solid-state batteries will be developed, along with advanced production methods, at the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center.

The Wallace Center, on the campus of GM’s Global Technical Center (GTC) in Michigan, US, is due to be completed mid-next year.

The first prototype cells are due in the fourth quarter of 2022, with the centre capable of building large-format, lithium-metal battery cells as large as 1,000mm with energy density from 600 to 1200Wh/l.

The Wallace Center will include cell test chambers, cell formation chambers, a material synthesis laboratory— where GM can design its own cathode active materials— a slurry mixing and processing laboratory, a coating room, electrolyte production laboratory, and a forensics laboratory with material analysis equipment and advanced software.

Technology developed at the centre will eventually be be deployed at battery cell manufacturing plants, including GM's joint ventures with LG Energy Solution in Ohio and Tennessee, and other “undisclosed locations” in the US.

The facility will connect GM's network of battery development sites located on its GTC campus, which include GM's Research and Development Chemical and Materials' Subsystems Lab that leads the company's work on lithium-metal anodes.

It will also be connected to the Estes Battery Systems Lab that performs major battery durability tests in-house at the cell, module and pack levels.

Honouring a legacy

The facility is named after Bill Wallace, a GM director who played a pivotal role in the development of its advanced battery technology as director of Battery Systems and Electrification.

Wallace led the team that designed and released GM’s advanced automotive battery systems in the Chevrolet Volt 1, Volt 2, Malibu Hybrid and Bolt EV.

Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, global product development, purchasing and supply chain, said: “In addition to being a good friend, Bill was an innovator who enabled other innovators.

“He gave his team confidence to take risks and reach far beyond their wildest dreams in pursuit of our all-electric, zero-emissions future.”

Wallace also pioneered GM’s relationship with LG Chem R&D (now LG Energy Solution), culminating in the Ultium Cells LLC battery cell manufacturing joint venture plants now under construction.

Despite fighting terminal cancer, Wallace passionately continued to lead and inspire his team and worked until his death in 2018.

Image: Architectural rendering of the completed first phase of GM’s Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center.

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LGES restarts lithium-ion battery production after GM’s billion-dollar EV fire recall

Tue, 09/28/2021 - 15:28 -- paul Crompton

Vehicle OEM General Motors (GM) has revealed an action plan for resuming battery production that includes both hardware and software remedies following a series of fires in electric vehicle packs.

The company’s battery maker LG Energy Solutions' (LGES) plants in Holland and Hazel Park, Michigan, US, have resumed production and the LG Chem subsidiary is adding capacity to provide more cells to GM.

LGES paused battery production after two manufacturing defects— a torn anode and a folded separator— were found to have caused battery fires in GM’s Chevy Bolt EV and EUV vehicles.

LGES has implemented new manufacturing processes and has worked with GM to review and enhance its quality assurance programs to provide confidence in its batteries moving forward, say GM. 

The battery maker said it will initiate these new processes in other facilities providing cells to GM in the future.

As a result, replacement battery modules will be shipped to dealers as soon as mid-October.

GM is prioritising Chevy Bolt EV and EUV customers whose batteries were manufactured during specific build timeframes where GM believes battery defects appear to be clustered.

Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, said: “Resuming battery module production is a first step and we’ll continue to work aggressively with LG to obtain additional battery supply. 

“In addition, we’re optimistic a new advanced diagnostic software will provide more convenience for our customers.” 

Prioritised battery replacement

GM has established a notification process that will inform affected customers when their replacement modules will be available.  

The new batteries will include an extended battery eight-year/100,000-mile limited warranty (or eight-year/160,000 km limited warranty in Canada).

GM will begin launching a new advanced diagnostic software package that will increase the available battery charging parameters over existing guidance within 60 days.

The diagnostic software will detect specific abnormalities that might indicate a damaged battery in Bolt EVs and EUVs by monitoring the battery performance.

The software will alert customers of any anomalies and prioritise damaged battery modules for replacement. 

GM intends that further diagnostic software will allow customers to return to a 100% state of charge once all diagnostic processes are complete— this follows instructions to limit charge to 90% to avoid fire concerns.

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VinFast partners with Gotion in Vietnam's first LFP battery gigafactory

Thu, 09/02/2021 - 15:48 -- paul Crompton

Vietnam’s first lithium-ion gigafactory could be on its way after a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by vehicle OEM VinFast and electric drive train firm Gotion High-Tech. 

The MoU focuses on the use of Chinese firm Gotion’s lithium iron phosphate batteries by Vietnam-based VinFast, and joint R&D and production of new battery technology.

So far, Gotion High-Tech has founded eight R&D centers in China, the US, Japan, Singapore, Germany and India.

Chairman of Gotion High-Tech, Zhen Li, said: "We will use cutting-edge technology and rich experience in battery manufacturing to fully support VinFast's electrification strategy. 

VinFast has been fostering collaborations with partners around the world, including Israel, Taiwan, the US to boost R&D and application of advanced battery technologies such as solid-state battery.

Vingroup’s subsidiary VinES Energy Solutions JSC focuses on research and manufacture of electric vehicles batteries.

In July, Volkswagen Group and Gotion deepened a partnership based on a substantial shareholding agreement in May 2020.

Both partners are set to industrialise the planned battery cell production at the Salzgitter, Germany, site of Volkswagen Group Components and to develop first use cases of the Volkswagen unified cell concept for the volume segment.

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'Made in Europe' goal sees Renault and Vulcan sign lithium-ion battery material deal

Fri, 08/13/2021 - 17:09 -- paul Crompton

French vehicle OEM Renault Group has signed a five-year deal to receive up to 17,000 metric tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate materials a year from Vulcan Energy Resources.

Australian company Vulcan will supply between 6,000 and 17,000 metric tonnes per year of battery grade materials produced in its German plant from 2026.

The binding lithium offtake term sheet is conditional on the execution of a definitive agreement on materially similar terms by 20 November.

The deal is in line with Renault’s ambition to offer 'Made in Europe' cars.

The announcement follows a similar deal with LG Energy Solutions to deliver 55,000 metric tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide over a five-year period.

That deal starts in 2025. 

In April, Vulcan Energy bolstered its board of directors by welcoming former Tesla head of battery and energy supply chain, Annie Liu, and ex-Evonik executive Dr. Heidi Grön as non-executive directors.

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Ford halts sales of its Kuga PHEV car after overheating battery packs cause fires

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 09:44 -- paul Crompton

A series of fires thought to have been caused by the vehicle’s battery has forced car maker Ford to ‘temporarily’ stop sales of its Kuga plug-in-hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

Owners of the cars have also been told not to recharge their vehicles after overheating of the battery’s charging module was thought to be the cause of the fires.

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100% green credentials sways BMW Group to sign $2B supply deal with Northvolt

Wed, 07/22/2020 - 11:28 -- paul Crompton

Vehicle OEM BMW Group has signed a long-term supply contract worth €2 billion ($2.3 billion) to secure lithium-ion battery cells from the Swedish company Northvolt. 

The battery cells will be produced at Northvolt’s planned gigafactory in Skellefteå in northern Sweden (series plant Northvolt Ett) when the plant is completed from 2024.

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Hyundai signs MoU to use second-life EV lithium-ion batteries in ESSs

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 12:35 -- paul Crompton

South Korea's vehicle OEM Hyundai Motor Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PV manufacturer Hanwha Q Cells to recycle old EV batteries into second-life energy storage applications.

The partnership will develop energy storage systems (ESS) using old EV batteries for the European and North American markets.

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FEV to open development and test centre for modules and high voltage EV batteries

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 15:29 -- paul Crompton

Vehicle and powertrain engineering company FEV Group is set to finalise the commissioning of a state-of-the-art battery development and test centre (eDLP) in Germany.

The facility for the electrical testing of modules and complete high-voltage batteries for electric vehicles is due to be completed in Sandersdorf-Brehna, Saxony-Anhalt, during the third quarter of the year.

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Škoda re-starts European traction battery manufacturing after COVID-19 shutdown

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 15:31 -- paul Crompton

Vehicle OEM Škoda Auto has re-started production of its high-voltage traction batteries for the Volkswagon Group’s plug-in hybrid cars after a temporary shut-down due to COVID-19.

The firm has introduced more than 80 precautions for its workforce to allow production at its headquarters in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic, to re-start as planned. 

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