Monday, May 17, 2021

"Tesla in talks with China's EVE for low-cost battery supply deal -sources" TSLA)

Well I guess Tony Stark Elon Musk is now officially Iron Man.

From Reuters via Nasdaq, May 14:

Tesla Inc TSLA.O is in talks with Chinese battery maker EVE Energy Co 300014.SZ to add the firm to its Shanghai factory supply chain, four people familiar with the matter said, as it seeks to boost procurement of lower cost batteries.

EVE makes lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are cheaper to produce because they use iron instead of more expensive nickel and cobalt.

But LFP batteries generally offer a shorter range on a single charge than the more popular nickel/cobalt alternative.

EVE would become the second supplier of LFP batteries to Tesla after China's Contemporary Amperex Technology Co 300750.SZ (CATL).

The talks are advanced and the Palo Alto, California-based company is seeking to finalise the partnership in the third quarter, said two of the people.

Shenzhen-listed EVE is running some final-stage tests of its products for Tesla, said one person.

Shares of the Chinese battery firm jumped more than 10% in afternoon trade on Friday following the Reuters report about the talks.

All sources declined to be identified as the discussions are private. Tesla and EVE did not reply to Reuters requests for comment.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said this year the company was shifting standard range cars to an iron cathode due to concerns about the supply of nickel for scaling up battery production....


Back in 2018 we posted "Batteries: Lithium-Iron may be Competitive With Lithium-Cobalt" but with so many technologies that failed to scale-up over the years we are a little bit jaundiced about wasting the reader's time chasing every rabbit that pops up.

However, if this works, Elon may have found the chemistry for the next generation of Powerwalls.

Also from 2018:
"Ten years left to redesign lithium-ion batteries"
This time frame is not too restrictive.
Tesla and their battery partner, Panasonic, have removed a lot of the cobalt (60%) from their battery recipe and are on their way to zero cobalt over the next couple years.

So, more interesting than any time pressure is the potential spur to creativity on the question of alternative chemistries.

From the journal Nature, July 25:...

One more from 2018—apparently a great year for Iron Age types while I kept writing Bronze Age on my checks. ("Dad, what's a check?"):

Twenty Month Payback for Tesla 100-MW Utility Scale Battery Storage System
Elon (and Panasonic) may have just found another multi-billion dollar business.
Going forward the chemistry probably won't be Lithium ion, maybe molten-salt or iron based, but the fact TSLA can now pitch this kind of payback probably heralds the beginnings of lithium rush 3.0, or at least the promotion thereof....

And just so you know how long it can take to go from lab bench to production, this post is from 2008!

Lithium-Ion Batteries for Less

From MIT's Technology Review:
Researchers show a low-cost route to making materials for advanced batteries in electric cars and hybrids.

A new way to make advanced lithium-ion battery materials addresses one of their chief remaining problems: cost. Arumugam Manthiram, a professor of materials engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, has demonstrated that a microwave-based method for making lithium iron phosphate takes less time and uses lower temperatures than conventional methods, which could translate into lower costs.

Lithium iron phosphate is an alternative to the lithium cobalt oxide used in most lithium-ion batteries in laptop computers . It promises to be much cheaper because it uses iron rather than the much more expensive metal cobalt. Although it stores less energy than some other lithium-ion materials, lithium iron phosphate is safer and can be made in ways that allow the material to deliver large bursts of power, properties that make it particularly useful in hybrid vehicles.

ndeed, lithium iron phosphate has become one of the hottest new battery materials. For example, A123 Systems, a startup based in Watertown, MA, that has developed one form of the material, has raised more than $148 million and commercialized batteries for rechargeable power tools that can outperform conventional plug-in tools....MORE