Svolt, a Chinese battery company founded in 2018, announced back in 2019 that it would build a 24 GWh lithium-ion battery that would be cobalt-free, and it seems to have made good on its promise.
Svolt Energy Technology (Svolt) is the former battery business unit of Great Wall Motor Company in China. Its launch video for a new cobalt-free EV battery states, “Great innovations derive from many ‘firsts’ only for a better future.”
“I hope that our new product is able to boost confidence and add value to the industry,” said the President of Svolt, Yang Hongxin. In his speech, he says that the company is new, but for him and the company, it’s more than being young. “It indicates the expectation for innovation,” he says. He also emphasizes that EVs will not be just transportation tools “down the road,” but will also provide entertainment. Vehicles will be “an all-new species” that will have multiple functions, such as mobility, entertainment, communication, and even energy regulation. As a result, the energy demand for EVs will change and become “distinctly different from what it used to be.”
Hongxin believes that its new, thin, cobalt-free battery has all the answers. “By using single-crystal Co-free materials and stacking technology for cell design, plus the array-PACK design and the automotive-grade intelligent manufacturing process, we have created a battery that has a range of over 800 kilometers [497 miles].”
When it comes to cobalt-free, Hongxin explains that Svolt has completely eradicated cobalt from a NCM chemistry to make real cobalt-free material. He also shared that over 50% of cobalt that is consumed worldwide is used in lithium-ion batteries. Around 10 grams of cobalt can be found in our smartphones. (And here I was thinking I’d like to add some to my mineral collection — I already have some!) He also said that about 13kg of cobalt is used in Tesla EVs.
Svolt says the new battery will work for 15 years or up to 1.2 million kilometers, which is almost 1 million miles.
How Does This Affect Tesla?
The idea that this could interrupt Tesla’s plans, as insinuated by some, is absurd. As a wire artist, the idea of another artist who is more skilled than I am putting me out of business is equally absurd. Why? Because many people and businesses have something to contribute. We all have our own touch, so to speak, and we all provide value. I think that if Svolt’s battery is completely cobalt-free and cost-effective, then it will help revolutionize the battery and energy sector, but it won’t do so alone.
Elon Musk has said time and again that he would love some competition — primarily in the auto industry, but the same can be said that good competition is needed for the battery and energy sector as well. If there are more companies creating sustainable energy solutions with low-cost batteries using plentiful elements, we can quicken our pace to sustainable energy and eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels.