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Financial Times Future of the Car Summit Recap

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Didn’t get a chance to attend the Financial Times Future of the Car Summit? Battery Associates has you covered! See below for key takeaways from the top battery-focused sessions!

Panel: The (Battery) Cost Challenge: Innovating to bring the price down - featuring Battery Associates Founder and Chair Simon Engelke!

May 12 | 1:30 PM - 2:10 PM GMT +1 | Speakers left to right: Donald R. Sadoway - Professor of Materials Chemistry MIT, Simon Engelke - Founder and Chair Battery Associates, Jacqui Murray - Deputy Director of Faraday Battery Challenge Innovation UK, Kent Helfrich - CTO & President, Global Research & Development General Motors

  • The dramatic reduction in battery cost over the last decade has enabled the mass adoption of EVs. There is still opportunity to reduce costs further through: improved battery chemistry, production optimisation – in particular reducing scrap rates and via improved integration through cell formats and design.

  • To ensure EVs are part of a positive, inclusive transition to a sustainable world - requires smart people to make the right decisions and invest in the right things. Therefore, investment in the battery talent pipeline is key. Courses like the Battery Associates’ BatteryMBA are helping talent make the transition from other industries such as oil and gas.

  • GM is taking a platform approach so that as more cost effective battery chemistries are commercialised they can be quickly integrated into their EV offering.

Keynote interview with Elon Musk

May 10 | 6:15 PM - 7:00 PM GMT +1 | Speaker: Elon Musk - CEO Tesla

  • Tesla has an aspiration to sell 20m EVs per year by 2030 - replacing 1% of the global cars and trucks ICE fleet per year with the EVs.

  • Tesla predicts some raw materials constraints over the next three years - in particular battery critical commodities and cathode manufacturing.

  • Elon is open to buying a mining company if it helps Tesla accelerate the sustainable energy transition. This goal is also why Tesla has chosen to open source all Tesla patents.

Panel: The practicalities of securing a sustainable EV battery supply

May 12 | 2:20 PM - 3:00 PM GMT +1 | Speakers left to right: Todd Malan- Chief External Affairs Officer & Head of Climate Strategy Talon Metals, Thomas Becker -Vice President Sustainability and Mobility Strategy BMW Group, Abigail Seadler Wulf -Director, Critical Minerals Strategy Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE), Rohitesh Dhawan - CEOInternational Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), Matt Sloustcher - Senior Vice President MP Materials

  • The demand for energy transition commodities will outstrip supply. Yes, new supply can help but mines take up to 10 years to open. Therefore other solutions are needed in the meantime like recycling. BMW vehicles currently use: 50% recycled copper, 40% recycled aluminium and 30% recycled steel – but only 1% recycle battery materials. Efforts are being deployed to improve this.

  • Convergence towards a single, global, responsible mining standard is needed because: it’s good for the communities affected by mining, it's good for mining company credibility and it's good for customer confidence that their products are responsibility produced.

  • Auto OEMs supply chains will need to remain some of the most globally integrated. We don’t necessarily need shorter supply chains, but we do need transparent ones. Progress in this space include;

    1. Companies like Circular developing supply chain tracking and traceability software,

    2. The EU proposing Battery Passports to store battery sourcing data and information for disassembly and recycling, and

    3. The US is looking to update the Monroney car window sticker to include battery metals source of origin.

Panel: ​Embedded Emissions & Second Life: ​Dealing appropriately with the EV battery’s life cycle emission

May 12 | 4:30 PM - 5:10 PM GMT +1 | Speakers left to right: Abhishek Gupta - Lead Circular Cars Initiative, Future of Mobility Platform World Economic Forum, Trygve Burchardt - CEO ECO STOR, Nicolas Gendre - Head of Battery Industrialization and Logistics Volvo Energy, Linda Gaines - Chief Scientist at ReCell and Transportation Systems Analyst Argonne National Library

  • Extending the life of batteries by improvements in continuous battery health monitoring will help maximise a batteries first life use.

  • Cost-effective unit economics for battery refurbishment for 2nd life use and ultimately battery recycling required integrated partnerships across the length of the battery value chain. 2nd life and recycling need to be considered at the design stage of batteries.

  • Upstream sectors like - battery health monitoring and battery cell, module, and pack design are not likely to be open-sourced in the near future. However, downstream sectors like - second life battery management and recycling may embrace open sourcing.

Panel: The rate of progress on solid-state batteries

May 12 | 12:10 PM - 12:50 PM GMT +1 | Speakers left to right: Mark Newman - Founder & CEO Electric Revolution Insights, Stephen Gifford - Chief Economist The Faraday Institution, Waseem Ashraf Qureshi - CEO WRL Technologies, Celina Mikolajczak - Chief Manufacturing Officer QuantumScape

  • Solid state batteries will cost more than alternatives when they first enter the market - but will eventually beat out conventional lithium-ion batteries due to having a much simpler manufacturing process.

  • To accelerate solid state battery development, investment is needed in the supply chain for battery manufacturing equipment. For example, to get basic dry room equipment has a 12 month lead time today and coders to make cathodes have an 18 month lead time - we need to reduce these lead times.

  • Battery swap business models will only be viable if one cannot charge the battery fast. Charing is simple. Battery swaps requires significant equipment to pull a used battery out of the vehicle and management of battery charging logistics.

Debate: Solid Vs Liquid?

May 12 | 3:05 PM - 3:35 PM GMT +1 | Speakers left to right: Emily Hersh - CEO Luna Lithium, Dr. Shirley Meng - Professor, University of Chicago and Chief Scientist Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS)

  • Solid-state chemistry is backed by various automakers with a promising timeline of commercialisation within this decade.

  • Solid state batteries will first be used in premium model EVs because they will cost more than alternatives when they first enter the market

  • These 3Ps - Precursor, Processability, and Pressure are considered the cost driving factory of solid state technology

Panel: Are Chinese Cars Catching up

May 10 | 8:15 AM - 8:50 AM GMT +1 | Speakers left to right: Brian Gu - Vice Chairman & President XPENG, Paul Gao - Senior Partner McKinsey & Company

  • Customers see EVs as a different product ICE vehicles – therefore the credibility that traditional OEMS brands have built in ICE manufacturing does not translate to EV manufactDeveloping Chinese car brands iuring or battery chemistry innovation.

  • In international markets will take time. For example Tesla is 18 years old whereas XPENG is only 7 years old. We will see a Chinese OEM within the top 5 globally within the next decade.

  • The US is leading in the autonomous driving car space, however China is also in the forefront of developing this technology. US software based on visual data will likely not be suitable for the complexity of driving conditions found in China. Although China's autonomous cars might come to market later, their tech is based on LiDAR and will be designed to cope with more complex driving conditions

Keynote interview: Going all-electric by 2028: Challenges and Opportunities

May 11 | 4:20 PM - 4:45 PM GMT +1 | Speaker: Paul Willcox - Group Managing Director Vauxhall Motors/Chief Executive Stellantis UK

  • Two key cost challenges exist when it comes to ensuring EVs for the mass market are accessible:

    1. Production cost - Vauxhall is looking to reduce battery pack costs by 40% in coming years, and

    2. Consumer education on total cost of ownership - today EVs match ICE vehicles on total cost of ownership.

  • Stellantis has announced five battery gigafactories across Europe and North America. If you want to grow a local manufacturing ecosystem – localise to product. You need to invest directly in supporting manufacturing supply chain development – not in supporting engineering. The engineering will come as the manufacturing supply chain grows.

  • Two key roadblocks to EV charging infrastructure are:

    1. Grid capacity for high-speed charging at motorway services, and

    2. Planning permission and local council bandwidth for allowing infrastructure to be installed on the streets.

About the Author

Bianca Goebel

Chemical Engineer, Strategy Analyst, Battery Enthusiast

Bianca is an advocate for the protection of future generations. She is passionate about using systems thinking to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges, towards the goal of equity of opportunities. Chartered as a chemical engineer, Bianca has complimented her technical skillset with strategy experience via working at management consulting firm BCG, leadership experience as CEO of a NFP and by completing an MBA - placing within the top 5% of the cohort.

Barath Venkatesan

Business Development & Junior Consultant

Battery Associates

Barath has a bachelor’s degree in Nanoscience and Technology and is doing his master's currently in Material Engineering and Nanotechnology at Politecnico di Milano university in Milan, Italy. He is passionate about the circular energy economy and he currently works with various stakeholders in the battery ecosystem to create a sustainable world through the power of batteries.

Mariano Sydney Rubio

Project Manager - Battery Associates

Mariano is an experienced electro-mechanical engineer and executive MBA from IESE with 20 years of experience working in OEM. Lead Case Study track BattetyMBA and Co.Lead Ethical Battery Rating. Battery expert, specialized in lean manufacturing, operations and blockchain. He has a passion for sustainability applied to the battery value chain, he has worked for industrial recycling and top chemical companies. He won second prize at the UPC for his work on recycling.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors alone and not of Battery Associates.

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