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April Newsletter 2023

Updated: Apr 2


Dear battery enthusiast,

Welcome to Battery Associates’ April Newsletter. We summarised some of the month’s most relevant battery news, highlighting technology and research development, and updates from Battery Associates.


Battery Newsletter structure:

  • Battery Industry Highlights

  • B.A Editorial

  • Battery Insiders Podcast

  • B.A Updates & Events


Battery Industry Highlights

In this section, we have summarised relevant battery news from the past month.


On April 19, CATL introduced its condensed battery cell powered by a polymer gel-like electrolyte that modifies its mesh configuration and adjusts the interactive forces among its polymer chains. The company asserts that this structure enhances conductivity and lithium-ion movement within the electrolyte. Moreover, CATL also maintains that they have created an "ultra high-density cathode material," a novel anode material, and a separator material. They contend to have developed a new manufacturing technique that could enable CATL to initiate mass production of condensed battery cells later this year.


B.A Commentary: Battery makers across the world are adopting cutting-edge technologies to increase the specific energy density with respect to volumetric energy density. Innovative technologies like solid state, lithium metal, etc. are regarded as potential options to achieve a high specific energy density of around 500 Wh/kg. Considerable progress has already been made by battery makers like QuantumScape, Solid Power, etc. in the Solid State battery space. CATL has announced its innovative condensed battery technology that has the potential to reach 500 Wh/kg. However, the company has not published any data to understand the cell architecture and chemistry and has not provided any information regarding its technology readiness level. CATL said it is working with its aviation partner to deploy its condensed battery in aircraft to electrify air vehicles.


On April 25, the Hyundai Motor Group and SK Innovation announced a joint venture, with each taking a 50 percent stake, to set up electric vehicle (EV) battery cell production in Bartow County, Georgia. This plant represents a $5 billion investment and is expected to commence manufacturing in the second half of 2025, with an annual production capacity of 35 GWh. This capacity is sufficient to support the production of 300,000 EVs. Hyundai Mobis will assemble battery packs using cells from the plant and supply them to the Group's U.S. manufacturing facilities to produce Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis EV models for the North American market.


B.A Commentary: Hyundai is making various strategic investments in the North American market. In order to access the benefits of the IRA Act, battery makers need to comply with certain regulations. In order to access these benefits, battery makers are making strategic investments across the battery supply chain in the US. As part of this effort, Hyundai is partnering with SK Innovation to produce cells in the USA. On October 22, 2022, Hyundai partnered with LG Energy Solutions to establish a 40 GWh battery plant in Ohio, USA.


On April 26, Samsung SDI and General Motors (GM) announced a joint venture to build a battery plant in the United States for electric vehicles. This facility will have an annual production capacity of 30 GWh, with an investment of over $3 billion. Mass production is expected to start in 2026. This partnership will be dedicated to producing high-performing, nickel-rich prismatic, and cylindrical batteries that will be exclusively supplied for GM's upcoming electric vehicles.


B.A Commentary: General Motors (GM) partnered with LG Energy Solution and formed a joint venture called Ultium Cells to commence the construction of three battery gigafactories in the USA, with a total annual production capacity of 140 GWh. GM has also planned for its fourth 40 GWh battery Gigafactory in Indiana. Therefore, it is expected that this joint venture between Samsung SDI and General Motors will establish its battery manufacturing in Indiana, USA.


On April 11, Ford announced an investment of $1.3 billion (1.8 billion Canadian dollars) in its Oakville Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada, to convert its current ICE plant into an EV manufacturing facility. The transition is expected to take six months and will begin in the second quarter of next year. The changes to the Oakville complex will include the consolidation of the existing three body shops into one and the addition of battery pack assembly within the complex. The facility will use cells from a battery plant that is currently under construction in Kentucky, USA, which is a joint venture between Ford and SK Innovation.


B.A Commentary: In July 2022, Ford and SK Innovations formed a joint venture called BlueOval SK to establish three Gigafactories in the USA with an annual production capacity of 129 GWh. BlueOval SK will supply battery cells to Ford's EV manufacturing facilities in North America. This newly established manufacturing hub will receive its battery cells from the above-mentioned facility.


Chile to Nationalize its lithium industry On April 20, Chile’s President Gabriel Boric announced that Chile, the world's second-largest producer of lithium, will nationalize its lithium industry to boost its economy and protect its environment. The government announced that future lithium contracts will only be issued as public-private partnerships with state control; however, the Chilean government will not terminate the current contracts.


B.A Commentary: We are witnessing a trend of free market trade constrains appearing among raw material-rich countries. In 2020, Indonesia banned the export of nickel, and in 2022, Mexico nationalized its lithium deposits. Following this, Chile also nationalized its lithium deposits.


On April 21, BYD Co Ltd, a Chinese EV manufacturer, announced plans to build a $290 million lithium cathode factory in Chile's northern Antofagasta region in South America. This plant is expected to produce 50,000 tons of cathode material for lithium iron phosphate (LFP), and the facility is expected to start operations in 2025.


B.A Commentary: Following the nationalization of lithium in Chile on April 20, BYD established an LFP cathode facility. The South American country's government has given BYD Chile access to preferential prices for lithium carbonate quotas. The government is trying to boost the manufacturing of products in the lithium value chain within the country.


LG Chem to Invest USD $923 million for battery precursors plant in South Korea On April 14, LG Chem, a South Korean chemicals company, and Huayou Cobalt, a producer of refined cobalt, announced a joint venture to manufacture precursors. Precursors are intermediate materials used in EV batteries that consist of materials such as nickel, cobalt, and manganese. This joint venture will invest a total of USD $923 million (KRW 1.2 trillion) to build a precursor plant on a 330,000-square-meter plot of land in the Saemangeum area, a reclaimed area on Korea’s southwest coast. The precursor plant is expected to reach a production capacity of 50,000 tons by 2026 and plans to double its production capacity by adding additional facilities in the future.


B.A Commentary: Following the Inflation Reduction Act, the Korean manufacturer LG Energy Solution has established multiple battery manufacturing plants in the USA. In order to fulfill the cathode demand of its battery plants, LG Chem is establishing a precursor plant in South Korea. These intermediate precursors will be transported to its facilities in the US, which will also be eligible for IRA benefits.


Posco Future M to supply USD $22 billion worth of cathode to LG Energy Solutions On April 24, POSCO Future M Co. signed a long-term agreement with LG Energy Solution Ltd. (LGES) to supply USD $22.6 billion (30.26 trillion won) worth of high-nickel cathodes to LG Energy Solution’s battery-producing facilities across the world from 2023 to 2029.


B.A. Commentary: Battery manufacturers and raw material manufacturers always undergo strategic long-term agreements to ensure their supply chain security. As part of LG Energy Solutions' supply chain strategy, they have signed a record-breaking cathode supply agreement.


As per the article published by Reuters on April 7th, the South Korean government announced that they will provide USD $5 billion in financial aid for battery makers seeking to invest in North America. Additionally, the South Korean government will lower its lending rates and insurance premiums by up to 20%. They also plan to provide more loans and tax credits for South Korean companies to promote the battery ecosystem in South Korea.


B.A Commentary: The IRA act of Biden's government in the USA has attracted significant investments from South Korean battery manufacturers LG Energy Solutions and Samsung SDI, who have partnered with General Motors (GM) and SK Innovations who have partnered with Ford. Besides partnerships with automotive companies, South Korean battery manufacturers have also made significant standalone investments in the US market. In order to support the growth of South Korean battery companies, the South Korean government is providing financial aid, loans, and tax credits, which are accelerating the battery ecosystem both in South Korea and abroad.


On April 19, Northvolt and Scania revealed a jointly developed prismatic cell tailor-made for heavy vehicle applications. In 2017, Northvolt and Scania formed a partnership to develop cells specifically for heavy vehicle applications. As a result of 6 years of R&D, Northvolt has announced its new NMC prismatic cell with a capacity of 157 Ah, a nominal voltage of 3.6 V, and an expected lifetime of 1.5 million kilometers in heavy-duty commercial transportation.


B.A. Commentary: Northvolt and Scania claim that they have jointly developed a high-performance cell for heavy vehicles. However, Northvolt has not published any data to understand the performance of the claimed high-performance cell. Nevertheless, Northvolt mentioned that the estimated carbon footprint of the cell at full serial production is approximately one-third that of a comparative industry reference cell (IVL 2019 lithium-ion NMC 111 cell).


On April 17, the Indonesian Investment Minister announced that Volkswagen would be partnering with miner Vale, automaker Ford, and mineral producer Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt to build an electric vehicle (EV) battery ecosystem in Indonesia. The partnership is expected to include joint venture plans and strategies for raw material supply.


B.A. Commentary: As per media reports, it is expected that Volkswagen is planning to invest in Indonesia. The Indonesian government is welcoming foreign direct investments in strategic projects, and as part of its EV ecosystem plan, it is welcoming investments from various stakeholders.


On April 16, CATL announced that their Sodium-ion batteries will be used to power lo models. CATL announced their first-generation sodium-ion battery technology on July 29, 2021 and set a goal to surpass 200 Wh/kg energy density in future Na-ion batteries, while aiming to establish a fundamental industrial chain by 2023


B.A. Commentary: The cost-effectiveness of Na-ion batteries has the potential to reduce the cost of EVs. In 2021, CATL announced its battery pack concept powered by both Na-ion and Li-ion batteries. It is expected that Na-ion batteries will be introduced in the entry-level models' Chevy.


B.A Editorial B.A Editorial is a monthly news article curated by the B.A Community "Material Innovation and System Engineering Advance Electrochemical Energy Storage Systems”


Battery makers across the world are constantly developing novel material innovations to enhance the performance of cathodes, anodes, electrolytes, etc., and system engineers are developing precise engineering solutions to optimize battery pack solutions to provide high-performance battery solutions for various use cases.


As part of their net-zero strategy, many businesses are developing their electrification strategy. As a result, batteries are being used in very diverse use cases, from EVs to electric boats. The demand for batteries is pushing battery makers to create custom-made battery solutions specific to the use case.


Innovation at Material Level - Cathode and Anode Battery makers are developing materials to increase the energy density and performance of the batteries while addressing the ESG requirements. In NMC (Nickel, Magnesium, Cobalt) chemistry, price fluctuation in Cobalt has a significant effect on the cost of the batteries, so companies like SVOLT are developing a new generation of NMX cathode material. Some battery makers are finding an alternative approach by reducing the percentage of cobalt in cathode material while increasing the Nickel content, which has brought a series of NMC cathodes in the market (i.e., NMC811, NMC 622, etc.). In LFP chemistry, battery scientists are working to increase its specific energy density while increasing its volumetric energy density.

In anodes, battery makers are adopting various approaches like developing morphological changes in the existing anode materials or developing alternative anodes like Silicon. CATL is developing advanced morphological innovations in anodes to improve its efficiency. For example, CATL has announced that they have developed a new-gen porous anode material for their upcoming sodium-ion batteries. Battery makers are partnering with material innovation companies and developing silicon anode materials for their battery solutions. Custom cells from Germany and Inobat from Serbia partnered with Group14 to advance its Silicon anode technology.

Innovation at the Cell Level Battery makers are developing new-generation form factors like 4680, 4660, and 4640 cylindrical cells. Tesla has already announced its plan for the serial production of 4680 cylindrical cells in Nevada, US. BMW has announced that they will develop 46xx series of cells for their EVs. BMW said that this 46xx series has the potential to reduce the manufacturing cost by 50%, based on current market assumptions, compared to the current fifth generation. In China, BYD has already launched its blade form factor cells.


BMW has announced that they will develop 46xx series of cells for their EVs. BMW said that this 46xx series has the potential to reduce the manufacturing cost by 50%, based on current market assumptions, compared to the current fifth generation. In China, BYD has already launched its blade form factor cells.


Innovation at Pack Level Battery makers are trying to pack as many cells in the available space to create high-energy density battery packs for various use cases. The concept of Cell to Pack (CTP) technology and Cell to Chassis (CTC) technology is gaining momentum in the industry.


BYD’s blade cell - CTP technology has increased the volume utilization efficiency to 60%. While CATL CTP 3.0 battery “Qilin,” CTP technology claimed that they have reached a volume utilization efficiency of 72%, the highest in the world. Besides CTP technology, battery pack developers are experimenting with CTC Technology to further increase the volume utilization efficiency of battery packs.


Besides these innovations in chemistry, cell, and packs, scientists across the globe are developing various technologies to accelerate


Battery Insiders Podcast Summary

Battery Associates runs a monthly podcast called Battery Insiders. Battery Insiders covers the role of batteries for sustainable development and battery-relevant topics featuring a range of battery experts and enthusiasts. Our podcast also includes the recordings of the Battery Revolution Clubhouse sessions co-hosted live by Mariam Awara. Battery Insiders is hosted by Bhavya Jha and Dr Simon Engelke.

Talk on: "Residential Energy Storage Systems”


Speaker: Ya (Laylane) LV, Principle RD&D Product Engineer at Maxeon Solar Technologies co-hosted by Dr. Simon Engelke and Mariam Awara


Session Summary: March 31, 2023, Battery Revolution Clubhouse hosted Ya (Laylane) LV, Principle RD&D Product Engineer at Maxeon Solar Technologies, who spoke on Residential Energy Storage Systems. Listen to the full episode here.



Battery Associates Updates & Events

  • FT Live Future of the Car Summit

  • European Battery Show

  • Battery Day 2023

  • BatteryMBA May Cohort

FT Live Future of the Car Summit (9-11 May 2023) Achieving Efficiency, Sustainability & Connectivity in Automotive In-Person & Digital | London, Convene


The FT Future of the Car Summit is a three-day strategy-focused conference for anyone leading at the juncture of traditional automotive industry practice and technology-driven disruption. It is the only automotive summit to attract the most visionary CEOs and thinkers for an objective analysis of the industry’s toughest challenges. Speakers include CEO from Ferrari, Bentley, McLaren, Polestar, Aston Martin Lagonda, Peugeot, Renault Group, and many more. See the full agenda here.

Register here for 20% off your pass (use code BATTERY). You’ll also have a chance to meet Dr. Simon Engleke, Founder & Chair of Battery Associates who will be attending the conference.



Battery Show Europe (23-25 May 2023) Learn & explore the latest innovations in Battery and EV Technology In-Person | Stuttgart, Germany


The Battery Show is a leading meeting place for attendees to find solutions to their application needs, get a look at the latest technologies, and connect with their peers. To find out more about the show taking place 23-25 May, 2023 in Stuttgart Germany, you can access the event preview here.

Battery Associates will have a dedicated networking area at the event where we'll be delighted to meet leading battery experts and will also provide a BatteryMBA Masterclass! Register for the event here.


As a valued member we would like to offer you a 20% discount off a Conference pass when you enter the code BATA20.



Battery Day 2023 (21 September 2023)

Annual battery event for battery enthusiasts worldwide

Online


Join us on Thursday, September 21, 2023, Online annual event - Battery Day 2023. Register here. Battery Day 2023 will feature panels and deep dive sessions to facilitate up-to-date knowledge on different battery technologies, future chemistries, applications, and market insights from leading battery experts. Last year's Battery Day welcomed 900+ delegates from 60+ countries with 30+ leading speakers in the battery sector. You can purchase the recordings of Battery Day 2022 to access 10+ hours of contenthere. If you are interested in being involved in the event, please contact info@battery.associates. Sponsoring and speakingopportunities are available.




BatteryMBA Announcement

BatteryMBA’s eighth cohort starts on May 8! The course consists of an exciting battery case study track (with case studies from leading business schools). BatteryMBA alumni and participants work at Tesla, Airbus, JLR, Farasis Energy, Li-Cycle, Hitachi Energy, InoBat, AVL, Circulor, European Parliament, and many others. You can now apply here for the 9th cohort starting on 18 September, 2023. In case you still like to join the cohort starting today, reach out to us via email directly at info@battery.mba. Need-based scholarships and group discounts are available.


Battery Associates services


Battery Associates offers consultancy, innovation, and education services on a wide range of topics. Please get in touch if you're interested in any of our services!


About Battery Associates


Battery Associates (B.A) is a community-driven company on a mission to accelerate sustainable battery innovation - join us!


B.A operates as a global network that unites battery experts (BatteryPRO), a platform for innovative projects (BatteryLAB), and a facilitator of training programmes for aspiring battery leaders (BatteryEDU). B.A's educational programmes notably includes BatteryMBA, a 12-week programme training aspiring battery leaders.

We are rapidly becoming a reference community for battery enthusiasts who want to tackle pressing environmental and energy-related challenges. Battery Associates currently unites battery experts working across the battery value supply chain, based in over 20 countries. We're growing, join us in our work!


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