Demand for lithium could double by 2025 due to the expected boom in electric vehicles, a forecast by the management consultancy Stormcrow Capital suggest. At the same time, production of the rare metal will triple over the next four years, GlobalData estimates.
The world’s lithium reserves stand at over 40 million tonnes, says Stormcrow Capital, but there are just about 14 million tons explored in mines. The analysts further suggest, that demand will double within seven years. If true, this will lead to a bottleneck that could affect battery manufacturers and consequently the electric car industry in a few years time.
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Lithium production on the other hand is likely to triple within the next four years and could counter this development if GlobalData’s prediction will prove correct. However, it is an enormous leap in view of a rather shallow increase in production of 6.4 percent per year between 2010 and 2017. Still GlobalData predicts production to grow from 86,000 to 154,000 tons by 2022.
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Honda has been making the Super Cub for some 60 years so that by now the little halfling of a motorbike and scooter has become legendary. Still only Shanghai Customs of China offers to convert the machine into an electric motorcycle, with growing success.
Where once China was the land of the cheapest e-bikes, customers are developing a taste for the premium end of the market. It is here Shanghai Customs positions their eCub.
Their latest project not only offers buyers a new and fully electric Honda Super Cub, but they also have a conversion package waiting for existing owners.
The original eCub has been around for a year. Yet, Shanghai Customs released an upgrade, giving the package an extra retro twist. The eCub2 features a 3.7V battery located under the seat. It can be removed and charged lasts for a range of about 45 kilometres (28 miles).
The electric drive comes with two main modes, eco and sport, all controlled via smartphone. Sitting in the rear wheel, it delivers up to a 1,000 Watt.
All the kits and fully assembled e-bikes can be ordered from Shanghai Customs online. The company is based in Shanghai and led by New Zealander Matthew Waddick.
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The British tax service HMRC has specified mileage reimbursement rates for electric cars. The new rate will be at 4 pence per mile for EVs from September, 1. This follows campaigning from fleet representatives and translates into a tax advantage.
The new rate, called the Advisory Electricity Rate (AER), has been set at 4p per mile and will be published alongside AFRs for petrol, diesel and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) cars based on engine size. Plug-in hybrid and hybrid cars will continue to be treated as either petrol or diesel models.
AFRs apply where employers reimburse employees for business travel. They are deemed to be tax and National Insurance-free, hence why the new ruling is important.
Says HMRC: “HMRC will accept that if employers pay up to the Advisory Electricity Rate of 4p per mile when reimbursing their employees for business travel in a fully electric company car there is no profit – there will be no taxable profit and no Class 1 National Insurance to pay.”
It is also in line with an expected surge in plug-in vehicles operated by fleets. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has launched the ‘Plug-in Pledge’ this July, aiming to raise the number of PEVs in their fleets from 50,000 today to 720,000 by 2025.
This target may even be achievable. The association’s members oversee almost five million vehicles on British roads. Add to this their combined buying power and the frequency of fleet replacement cycles, and they can indeed become a key driver on the journey to zero emissions.
The latter has been outlaid in the UK government’s Road to Zero strategy. It also feeds into the latest numbers of the Go Ultra Low campaign. They see an upward trend for electric and plug-in hybrid car sales in the UK. In the first half of this year, they counted one plug-in vehicle being registered every 9 minutes reportedly.
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The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) now finalised the list of of Chinese products that will be hit with a 25% tariff. Despite opposition from the industry, e-bikes remain included but there is one more chance to petition.
The final list has come sooner than expected as those processes usually take months. This time round however, the USTR acted quickly, also because they removed no more than 5 product categories from the initial list of 284 products proposed for a 25 percent import tariff hike.
Electric bicycles made in China remained on the list. It is a decision that will drive prices up hundreds of dollars, potentially stifling a strong-going industry.
Following the report in June, both consumers and the electric bicycle industry had opposed the proposal. They submitted hundreds of comments and industry representatives went to a hearing in Washington. The industry argued that the ruling would not protect e-bike makers in America, there are almost none. Instead this would likely even hit companies that assemble their electric bikes in the States but buy most their components in China. Their argument was to no avail.
The USTR claimed it made an “exhaustive investigation that found China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation are unreasonable and discriminatory and burden U.S. commerce.”
While the Trump administration continues to act aggressively, China has last been forthcoming, when lowering import tariffs for private vehicles from 25 to 15 percent (we reported).
For the (electric) bike industry, only one stage remains. The industry is to petition for exemption from the tariff. Individual companies and trade associations can ask for exemptions until October, 9 this year. PeopleForBikes and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association will submit an application on the industry’s behalf. You find a link to the petition below.
It is not only the USA that has come down on electric bicycles lately. The EU Commission has been working on a proposal for a mandatory e-bike insurance reportedly. Legislators classify pedelecs according to motor power in Watt and a speed limit of 25 kph. As the latter is not tied to human muscle power necessarily, risks for accidents involving weaker drivers being too fast can rise indeed. The argument of the EC (and insurance industry) then goes, that riders need to pay for this.
However, this risk could be managed if new classification would position electric bicycles as a category of their own. Organisations like ExtraEnergy, have been calling for such change. Their proposal: all e-bikes must be torque sensor controlled so that assistance depends on muscle power. This also includes a change to U.N. classification.
Despite earlier reports saying otherwise, BMW has not killed the i9. At least not in the U.S. where the label has resurfaced when BMW reapplied to file the trademark. It is unclear at this stage whether this is just a formality or part of a more substantial plan.
The BMW i9 name has been around for years and has signified various concepts over time. They range from a real product over a cancellation to a high-end something. Then with the introduction of the electrified i-series, the i9 was declared dead and to be replaced with a larger i7 reportedly.
Yet the latest trademark filing gives the i9 saga yet another twist. Autoguide broke the news first but no one seems to have any definite information. It might as well be that BMW simply renewed the trademark as it was only good until July 31, 2018 in the States. Yet, BMW is certainly keeping their options open, given they have 25 electrified vehicles planned by 2025. It is only after that a new concept like the i9 could come to life. New projects would take at least 6-7 years of development and testing, and BMW has yet to even make a reference to a new flagship electric car.
The new and confirmed future, will see the launch of the iNext, which BMW has dubbed their vision vehicle. The electric car will debut as a study later this year before hitting the shelves by 2021. The iNext will be made at the BMW plant in Dingolfing. The facility is close to Erfurt, where CATL of China is currently constructing a battery cell factory (we reported). BMW agreed to buy cells worth over a billion euros and had recommended Erfurt reportedly. CATL will also supply electric cars from Volkswagen and Daimler with their batteries for electric vehicles.
Elon Musk’s tweet in which he was thinking aloud about taking Tesla private had seen the stock markets surge then crush last night. His rationale however is a long-term one he says and in line with the CEO’s actions to curb speculation.
The news came in late last night for Europeans but right in time for a hot day in trading on the West Coast. All started with Elon Musk taking to Twitter once more to announce a plan that could change a lot if not everything for Tesla in the near future. He wants to take the company private, thus putting an end to the volatility Tesla is exposed to when traded publicly on the stock market.
The proposal saw stock prices swing wildly. Shares went up 7 percent after the announcement but with an official decision outstanding, Nasdaq was forced to halt trading later that afternoon. When reopening the trade of Tesla shares, they surged by 12 percent. At the time of writing this trend had continued and was up 11 percent at $379.57.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
Since then, Tesla had published Musk’s email to employees in its entirety on their website. And, the above mentioned swings prove the point of the Tesla boss. Writes Musk: “As a public company, we are subject to wild swings in our stock price that can be a major distraction for everyone working at Tesla, all of whom are shareholders. Being public also subjects us to the quarterly earnings cycle that puts enormous pressure on Tesla to make decisions that may be right for a given quarter, but not necessarily right for the long-term. Finally, as the most shorted stock in the history of the stock market, being public means that there are large numbers of people who have the incentive to attack the company.”
These “people” are short sellers who Musk had addressed previously. The Tesla CEO had been taking a firm grip on the reigns of the electric carmaker. An internal “reorg” extended to a tough stance on said short sellers. The Tesla boss had been buying shares en masse and had warned against betting against Tesla reportedly.
Moreover, less than an hour before Musk published his initial tweet, the FT had reported that oil-fuelled Saudi Arabia had acquired about 5 percent of the EV maker through its sovereign wealth fund PIF. They now hold a close to 3 billion dollar stake in Tesla.
A final decision to take Tesla private has not yet been made and “would ultimately be finalized through a vote of our shareholders,” writes Musk in his email. However, he expects the vote to go through and also named Space X as an example of a private company working very well. Says Musk: “SpaceX is a perfect example: it is far more operationally efficient, and that is largely due to the fact that it is privately held. This is not to say that it will make sense for Tesla to be private over the long-term. In the future, once Tesla enters a phase of slower, more predictable growth, it will likely make sense to return to the public markets.”
In the short-term however, the Tesla CEO has already laid out his idea of how he would like to take Tesla private and what this would mean for shareholders. Essentially, all would be offered to make their existing shares private or else be bought out at a price of 420$/share. At the current value, this is about 20 percent over the stock price.
All Tesla employees would remain shareholders. All investors would be able to sell their shares and exercise their options about twice a year.
He failed to give any detail on how exactly he would fund a deal or when he hoped to make the buyout offer. However, the latest tweet on the matter reads: “Investor support is confirmed. Only reason why this is not certain is that it’s contingent on a shareholder vote.” Moreover, the latest development is the Tesla board saying that they had discussed Musk’s desire to go private since last week. Until a decision will go through, trading will be volatile, to say the least.
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We have become accustomed to the Tesla boss making ludicrous announcements which he then turns into a reality. Just think of that Roadster on its way to Mars. This latest news however is promising more fun for a much wider group of people.
Rather than engaging with the über-expensive space race, Elon Musk says Tesla were working on a ‘Tesla mini-car’ in which adults will be able to “squeeze in” eventually. Smart must not worry though. It is not exactly a fully working Model XXS, Musk is thinking about.
The latest idea rather runs along the lines of an adult toy it appears. Yet, given that Tesla actually has a Model S for children, initially dubbed the tiny Tesla, this latest tweet of elongating it just a little more does not seem too farfetched.
This is particularly true when looking at Space X having sent a Roadster to Mars, or The Boring Company having been racking up sales of their flamethrower lately. Actually, has anybody ever ordered and received one? Let us know in the comments below.
Japan is known for both its engineering ingenuity and quirky weirdness and the following concept cars illustrate this dual principle perfectly. Among our favourites is the Eliica (ELectric LIthium-Ion CAr) that not only boasts 8 wheels but an electric motor in each.
Other concepts have more serious backers even, such as the early ideas of Toyota and Mazda. In 1974, Toyota unveiled the RV-2 concept. The rear opened partially and created a space across which you could span a tent.
We also like the Bambgoo. Developed by Kyoto University, the Bambgoo was a small electric car made from nothing than bamboo and also capable of running 31 miles on a single charge.
The government in New Zealand has allocated 3.9 million dollars to electric transport initiatives. The 19 selected projects stretch from improving the range of electric camper vans over building charging stations.
The funding is part of a bigger fund, called the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund. It was introduced by the previous administration in 2016. The balance comes from its commercial and not-for-profit partners, who have to match or beat the grants.
So far, the government has provided $14M that has been matched by $23M in third-party funding. As of March 31, there were 7,232 EVs on local roads.
Researchers from Tohoku University and Tokyo Tech developed solid-state batteries with low resistance at the electrode and solid electrolyte interface. They showed great electrochemical properties that surpass those of traditional Li-ion batteries.
The scientists from Tokyo Tech and Tohoku University fabricated their solid-state batteries using LNMO by stacking various layers via thin-film deposition methods.
The team then achieved a very low electrolyte/electrode interface resistance of 7.6 Ω cm2. The researchers also observed spontaneous migration of Li-ions from the solid electrolyte to the positive electrode after the formation of the electrolyte/electrode interface.
Finally, they were able to demonstrate stable fast charging and discharging of the solid-state Li batteries, managing to charge/discharge half the battery within just one second. Moreover, the cyclability of the battery showed no degradation in performance even after 100 charge/discharge cycles.
The research team hopes that these results will lead to the development of high-performance solid-state batteries.
Tata Motors has decided to turn its existing production facility in Sanand Industrial Estate into a hotbed for electric car development. An executive called Sanand the “emerging capital of EVs in India”.
For now, Tata is making the electric variant of the Tata Tigor at the Sanand Plant. Their production target is 5,000 Tigor EVs, following orders. The factory has a capacity to manufacture 400 cars a day.
Tata Motors is working on electrifying the majority of their current lineup. Following the Tigor, they plan to release an electric version of the Tiago next reportedly.
General Motors is getting closer to the 200,000 EV cap for the $7,500 federal tax incentive. Still estimates suggests that they may have until early 2019 before the incentive is cut off but consequences for the Bolt EV could be stark.
To date, GM has sold about 186,670 Chevy Bolt and Spark EVs, as well as the Volt plug-in hybrids and Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrids, according to data from Edmunds. Consequently, GM expects to hit the 200,000 limit this year, but the analysts says at the current selling rate, GM probably has until the first quarter of 2019.
No matter when, the major carmaker will be the second to reach the limit of subsidised electric cars in the States. Tesla is already in the stage of phase-out of the tax credit as they had hit the 200,000 unit limit last month reportedly.
A new bill had been presented in the U.S. Congress to remove the 200,000 unit cap on access to the 7,500 dollar tax credit (we reported). It is unclear however of the bill is going to result in a law change any time soon.
Entrepreneurs from the Romanian town of Baia Mare are working on what could become the first electric vehicles “Made in Romania”. The small cars shall start at prices around 13,700 euros with two models being planned so far.
Despite the rather utilitarian look and price, founder Gheorghe Muresan names Elon Musk as his inspiration. His own company yet needs a name but their first two cars come under the labels GTG Oxygen and GTG Ozone.
A first prototype has been in use since two years. The cars have a top speed of 60 kph with the battery charge lasting for a day.
The manager says that a production facility is in the making already as well. Once completed, they plan to make up to 200 electric cars a month in Romania.
Funding for the project that is at implementation stage has been provided through the EU that granted a total of one million euros.
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Fast-charging equipment provider Tritium Tritium will present their latest high power charging system at Cenex-LCV in the UK this September. The system for commercial use is scalable and capable of charging an electric vehicle with up to 475kW.
The Australian company has been made advances in Europe lately. Their new European HQ in Amsterdam has scored deals with the high power charging network Ionity for example. Tritium will deliver equipment to the latter reportedly.
In addition, the company is also planning to get involved in the British government’s initiative Road to Zero. Jeroen Jonker, General Manager Europe at Tritium explains: “With the announcement of the Road to Zero strategy, the UK is becoming increasingly important as one of our major markets, and we are in active discussion with several organisations in the automotive, utilities and fleet sectors about the deployments of both rapid chargers and high power chargers.”
In addition to the HPC solution, Tritium will also exhibit their Veefil charging station at Cenex. The 50kW DC rapid charger has launched on the European market in 2014. Since then, Tritium claims it managed to take around 50% of the Norwegian market and around 15% of the wider European market for 50kW rapid chargers. It is also becoming a prominent player in the UK, where Tritium is estimated to hold 20% market share of the CCS/CHAdeMO 50kW rapid charger sector.
For high power charging, Tritium has been on the call for months. Back in December 2017, founder and commercial director Paul Sernia told us in our video interview, that for 500 kW charging to become a reality, Tritium were waiting for electric vehicles to catch up on that high charging power. With Ionity and the upcoming Audi EV, this time is approaching fast.
See the full interview from last year’s EVS30 below.
The financing arm of oil giant Shell has selected Ample, a startup focussed on automated charging, for funding. The San Francisco-based firm will receive 31 million dollars and Shell hopes to combine Ample’s fast-charging technology with their retail network.
What exactly the innovation of Ample is remains to be seen though. The press release says “Ample uses autonomous robotics and smart-battery technology,” but fails to go into any more detail or to provide pictures.
Information obtained by Electrek through CARB however, appears to point to Ample developing an automated battery swap system.
The response from investors is positive. Says James McIntyre of Moore Strategic Ventures: “We believe Ample’s proprietary robotics and battery technology solution can help solve one of the largest constraints to wide-scale adoption of electric vehicles. We are excited to partner with the company, Shell Ventures and Repsol Ventures to help make Ample’s vision a reality.”
Shell in particular has been busy buying into green technologies, without moving away from oil though. The Dutch petrochemical giant was seen to become part of the IONITY high power charging network early on. Other green gigs include Shell investing into solar power company and battery maker Sonnen reportedly.
Umicore of Belgium is planning to ramp up its recycling facilities to process electric vehicle batteries. The strategy corresponds with an expected surge in demand for electric cars. Umicore scheduled the expansion for the next decade.
The move has been announced by Umicore’s Chief Executive Marc Grynberg. He told press that they are ready to make investment decisions early on “because we will have to be ready with larger industrial scale recycling facilities than we have today sometime around the mid 2020s.”
He added that Umicore currently has the capacity to recycle batteries of about 150,00 to 200,000 electric vehicles. However, they expect the number of plug-in vehicles to surge over the next ten years. Says Grynberg: “If you make assumptions about what the market may be 10 years down the road, knowing that this year probably more than 2 million EVs and plug-in EVs will be sold, then you have an idea about the scaling up factor that will be required.”
Grynberg also commented on second-life applications, saying these would not affect the demand for battery recycling. Says the CEO: “We’ve always said that this is going to be a niche application for some residential energy storage because the economics wouldn’t work for a utilities-scale project of energy storage, nor for grid regulation.”
Apart from investing in recycling facilities, Umicore is also expanding their production facilities for electric vehicle batteries. Earlier this year, the Belgian group had raised close to 1 billion euros to grow their cathode production reportedly. The facility is under construction in the Polish town of Nysa. The battery factory will create up to 400 jobs in the first phase and is planned to go into operation by the end of 2020 (we reported).
Umicore has not disclosed any further details like cost or location on their planned battery recycling facility.
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Tesla is looking for staff for their planned electric vehicle factory in Shanghai just one month after receiving approval to set up shop from Chinese autorities. Most roles posted on the Tesla website are at senior level, reaching from architectural designer to experienced finance manager.
All in all, Tesla is looking to fill 14 positions. For now. Once the Gigafactory 3 starts making electric cars and batteries they will be looking to increase their workforce in Shanghai, China.
The Gigafactory 3 construction is to begin in the near future once all approvals and permits are in. Tesla reckons it will then take about two years until producing vehicles and then another two to three years before the factory is fully ramped up reportedly.
Apart from production that will be largely automated, the city of Shanghai also expects R&D activity from the facility. Reads the press release: “It is expected that Tesla Shanghai will achieve an optimized R&D, manufacturing, and sales operations that will contribute to its global business. This win-win cooperation further enhances Shanghai’s position as a world class automobile manufacturing center.”
Tesla expects to produce half a million electric cars in China once the Gigafactory 3 is up and running.
SK Innovation of Korea is delaying the introduction of their expected new EV battery cells. The pouch NCM batteries of type 811 had been planned since a year but so far, they are only being utilised in energy storage systems and larger EVs.
Apparently SK Innovation is not ready for mass-scale roll-out. The pouch-type batteries made from nickel, cobalt and manganese that would allow a range of up to 500 kilometers for electric vehicles had first been made public in September 2017 reportedly.
While the launch was scheduled a year later, that is now, the cells are still being tested in more controlled scenarios such as electric bus and stationary energy storage for the time being.
News of the delay of the introduction in electric cars has been first posted by a reader of the Push EVs blog. If proven true, the delay means that the Kia Niro EV won’t have NCM 811 battery cells. Instead it seems that the upcoming electric Mercedes SUV will be the first to boast the new battery cells by SK Innovation next year – at the earliest.
India’s government is preparing a new EV policy that will move away from a pan-indian into a more focussed approach. Rather than trying to inspire a transition to electric transport nationwide, they are planning to concentrate on pilot projects in major urban centres.
With the relaunch of India’s FAME (faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles) scheme being imminent, more news regarding the policies are trickling out of government circles in Delhi.
Anonymous sources quoted by the Economic Times India speak of a subsidies initially being rolled out on a smaller scale in order to maximise impact. The policy is likely to be announced at a global e-mobility summit on September, 7. According to the ETI, the government is thinking to begin with creating favourable ecosystems in nine polluted cities with a population of over four million, and gradually move to cities with populations of one million-plus. Traffic-heavy corridors such as Mumbai-Pune and Delhi-Chandigarh are being identified as well, according to the newspaper.
This approach would be in line with earlier reports saying that India would channel funds away from grants for buying private electric cars and into subsidies for EVs used by drivers working for shared mobility services such as Ola and Uber. The reasoning is that those cars are driven most regularly and could thus be a more effective measure to decrease air pollution levels.
The uptake of electric cars has been particularly slow in India, not the least because of low income levels. A policy that tries to maximise efficiency thus seems to be well in order. Moreover, the change in policy is also designed to give carmakers more time for the transition.
The timeline for the policy is still in the making but the aim remains to exchange one third of gas guzzlers with electric vehicles by 2030.
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British utility Centrica is pushing to enter new markets with no less than a total of 100 million dollars earmarked for investment. In a first financing move, the Israeli start-up Driivz that develops software for EV charging solutions has been selected.
Driivz has developed a cloud-based EV charging operating system that helps utilties as well as car manufacturers to manage charging and account billing, Centrica said. They added that their investment will help them to explore new products for electric vehicle drivers.
Exact details of the investment were not given but Centrica said its investment is part of a wider 9 million pound ($12 million) funding round by Driivz. It was made through an investment fund founded by Centrica a year ago. According to information obtained by Globes, this fund will also be used for subsequent investments. The fund’s budget is $140 million, mostly designated for Israel.
For Driivz, Centrica has bigger plans. Centrica investment director Idan Mor told Globes they were in the final stages of negotiations with international energy companies to set up a consortium to support Driivz’s technology and promote it in US and Asia. “We’re not so interested in maximum control of the company; we want global players with access to the various markets, including Japan and the US,” Globes quotes Mor.
Centrica has begun integrating Driivz’s technology in its global service platform and has also added the technology to its bid in UK energy tenders.
Centrica has founded 4,000 charging stations worldwide and recently won a $21 million tender for building a charging system for Transport for London. 300 rapid charging points will be set up in London by 2020, mainly to supply electric cabs reportedly.
Driivz system for managing electric vehicle charging systems is being used by 200,000 electric car drivers worldwide currently, according to the company.
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