5 Bonus Battery Stories — Cobalt-Free Batteries, Battery Reuse …

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Following up on 7 bonus solar + storage articles — very cool stories that we just didn’t get to covering in standalone pieces — here are 5 bonus electric vehicle battery stories.

1. COBRA (CObalt-free Batteries for FutuRe Automotive Applications) is a new project over in Europe to develop …

wait for it …

cobalt-free batteries.

The project got an €11.8 million grant. The project started in early 2020 and goes until January 2024. TNO, a Dutch organization that shared the news (see link above) is a partner on the project and will be “validating battery cell improvements and developing control algorithms for battery packs. … The proposed Li-ion battery technology will be demonstrated at TRL6 (battery pack) and validated on an automotive electric vehicle testbed.”

We’ve written many stories on cobalt and the efforts to develop more cobalt-free batteries with high performance. There’s been quite a bit of progress on that front lately from major industry players. Check out our cobalt archives for more.

Photo of the 200,000-kilometer Weltmeister EX5, courtesy Weltmeister.

2. Chinese automaker Weltmeister has shared that the batteries in its Weltmeister EX5 seem to be holding up quite well. The vehicle, which costs 139,800 yuan ($19,750), uses NCM 811 — cutting-edge batteries that use very little cobalt and offers good energy density. What the company shared is that a customer who bought the Weltmeister EX5 in January 2019 has driven more than 200,000 km (124,274 miles), charged it (partially) more than 1,500 times, and 90% of the time charged at DC fast chargers has had less than 3% battery degradation.

“To help alleviate concerns surrounding one important consideration among car buyers, the degradation of EV batteries over time, WM Motor has long promoted the benefits of high-quality thermal management and battery management systems (BMS) in EV’s to maintain the long-term stability of a battery’s capacity. Data from one of WM Motor’s EX5 models purchased in January 2019 has provided an insight into the car’s long-term battery degradation rate. The driver of this EX5 undertakes lengthy commutes between Wenzhou, Ningbo and Hangzhou, among other cities, and has averaged approximately 500km daily and accumulated over 200,000km of driving since purchasing the vehicle last year. Having been brought in for a regular check-up this week, the battery was found to have degraded by only 2.85% from its original capacity.” There are some cool service pics at this link, too.

PushEVs shared the following specs on the EX5:

  • Wheelbase: 2.703 mm
  • Length: 4.585 mm
  • Width: 1.835 mm
  • Height: 1.672 mm
  • Motor: 160 kW and 315 Nm of torque
  • Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 8,3 seconds
  • On-board charger: 6,6 kW
  • DC fast charging: 30 to 80 % in 30 minutes at 120 kW chargers
  • Battery capacity: 69 kWh with lifetime warranty
  • Battery weight: 432 kg
  • Battery energy density: 160 Wh/kg
  • Range (NEDC): 520 km (323 miles)

“Considering that range in WLTP is roughly 3/4 of NEDC, in a more realistic test cycle the range would be around 390 km (242 miles). Not bad at all considering the price.”


3. PushEVs also had a story comparing two different cobalt-free battery technologies — battery tech from SVOLT and from BYD. The whole comparison is worth a read, but here’s a short summary:

“We get more energy density with SVOLT’s CTP battery packs made with LNMO cells, but lower cost with BYD’s CTP battery packs made with LFP cells. Nonetheless, both batteries are great and still have room for improvement.

“Both battery packs will be able to offer a usable capacity of at least 66 kWh, which would be enough for roughly a WLTP range of 500 km (311 miles) in a Hyundai Kona Electric for example.

“Anyway, BYD is already producing its cobalt-free CTP battery packs, but we’ll have to wait a year to see SVOLT do the same…”

4. Johnson Matthey announced this month it is refocusing its lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery business to focus on a range of “leading ultra-high energy density materials” called eLNO.

“Johnson Matthey said it is making significant progress with the development and commercialization of its portfolio of eLNO materials, which will compete with future ultra-high energy density materials such as NMC 811. …”

Image courtesy Renault.

5. Renault long stood out in the EV market by offering the Zoe for full purchase or for partial purchase and partial leasing — leasing of the battery. It has started moving away from that leasing approach and PushEVs, based in Portugal, noticed that it ended the option in Spain.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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