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Tesla to reduce cobalt use in EV Batteries to almost nothing

Metal News - Published on Tue, 08 May 2018

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Investing News quoted US carmaker Tesla said that it has reduced the amount of cobalt used in its batteries, increasing investors’ concerns about future demand for the metal. The battery cells used in Tesla’s Model 3 are of the highest energy density used in any electric car vehicle, the carmaker said in a letter to shareholders on May 2.

Tesla said that “We have achieved this by significantly reducing cobalt content per battery pack while increasing nickel content and still maintaining superior thermal stability.”

The California-based company added that the cobalt content in its nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathode chemistry is already lower than the next-generation cathodes that will be made by other cell producers; they use a nickel-manganese-cobalt ratio of 8:1:1.

Mr Elon Musk CEO of Tesla said in a conference call in response to a question on reducing battery costs that “We think we can get cobalt to almost nothing.”

Cobalt prices have been rising on the back of anticipated demand from the electric car sector.

This price surge, together with supply concerns, has pushed carmakers to look for options to reduce their consumption of cobalt. More than 50 % of cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where mining has been linked to human rights abuses and child labor.

Despite Musk’s comments, some analysts believe cobalt demand will continue to increase due to the surge in sales of electric vehicles expected in the coming years.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence estimates that the use of cobalt in lithium-ion batteries will triple between now and 2026. Benchmark said in a note that “Whilst efforts are being made to reduce cobalt dependency, the order of magnitude of EV growth sales will far outweigh this.”

In addition, most EV makers are expected to use NCM batteries instead of Tesla’s NCA chemistry, which has always been an option but has been less widely adopted among carmakers.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence forecasts that NCM batteries will constitute up to 70 percent of the total lithium-ion battery market by 2026.

That said, Panasonic and Tesla have made excellent improvements to their cell technology and at the same time have been able to reduce their cobalt dependency, the London-based firm added.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 08 May 2018
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