The Short Cut: EV batteries are downsizing, and more
Rosalie Wessel·Jul 15, 2022

The Short Cut: EV batteries are downsizing, and more

Rosalie Wessel
Staff writer
Jul 15, 2022 · 4 min read
EV Batteries are Downsizing | TomTom Blog

Great to see you again! This week’s Short Cut is ready for your industry-news hungry eyes. From an insightful article on the growing adoption of EVs, to the continuing evolution of batteries, there’s much to read about this week.

No stopping them now: US reaches 5% EV adoption rate

EVs are taking over... slowly. According to Bloomberg analysts, a key marker that signals the threshold for quickly changing technological preferences has been reached in the US. Based on 19 other countries, once 5% of new cars sold were electric, mass adoption of EVs followed. Before that point, EV sales are unpredictable and unstable – but afterwards, demand stabilizes and snowballs from there. In countries such as South Korea, Norway, Austria and more, this was seen to be the case.

In this article by Bloomberg, the percentage of EV adoption is analyzed, with big markets such as the US, China and Europe all having passed that key 5% level. Places such as Canada, Australia and Spain are following suit. It’s also a win for the policies various governments have put in place to lessen the sale of combustion engine vehicles.

5% of all new car sales in the US are for EVs.

5% of all new car sales in the US are for EVs.

EV startups are pulling the plug on jobs

EV automakers such as Arrival and Rivian have announced job cuts. Around 800 jobs are at risk at UK startup Arrival, the Financial Times reports, and EV industry darling Rivian is facing a cut of around 5% to its 14,000 strong workforce.

Arrival, which was due to start production on its EVs last year, suffered a $10.4 million net loss in its first quarter, saying it was due to supply chain issues, inflation, the pandemic and geopolitical issues.

Meanwhile, Rivian, which went public on the stock market last year, suffered a fall in share price of about 70%, and announced that it would only be able to meet half of its expected amount of vehicles this year. And it’s not just startups that are facing the pressure – Tesla has seen a 40% dip in shares in 2022.

VW and Audi join recycling program

VW and Audi have agreed to join Redwood Materials in its EV battery recycling program. Redwood Materials, one of Tesla’s cofounder’s companies, has compiled a roster of various automakers, in an attempt to make EVs more sustainable through a closed loop supply chain. It will work with over 1,000 VW and Audi dealerships in the US by collecting used EV batteries and bringing them to their factories for recycling, Forbes reports.

Through the recycling process, Redwood claims that they can reuse 95% of the high-value metals present in the battery, such as cobalt, lithium, nickel and copper. These materials can then be used to create new battery anodes and cathodes. Redwood is a growing presence in the EV industry – in the past two years, it has raised over $800 million in funding, and plans to build a $1 billion plant for producing cathode and anode materials.

Small batteries for the win

EV battery makers are beginning to focus on making their batteries smaller, Reuters reports. Although the main focus for automakers is range, battery producers are predicting that a smaller battery will be more important as it will mean less expensive and more efficient EVs.

By experimenting with materials such as silicon-carbon, tungsten and niobium, battery makers hope to reduce charging times and lead to broader EV adoption. It may also be a more sustainable method of producing batteries, as less CO2 will be emitted when making them. Faster charging could also prove to be more popular, once charging stations become widespread, and an assured convenience around every corner. One battery maker focusing on downsizing, Echion, says it hopes to have its batteries ready by 2025.

Battery producers are focusing on downsizing batteries opposed to increasing range.

Battery producers are focusing on downsizing batteries opposed to increasing range.

Canada enters the EV tug-of-war

Looks like Canada is vying for the EV industry crown. Trudeau has announced plans to build a $1.5 billion plant, in collaboration with Umicore, a global metals refiner. The plant, which will be located in Ontario, aims to produce one million EVs annually, CBC reports.

Umicore, a Belgian corporation, transforms metals such as nickel, cobalt and lithium into cathode battery materials. The plant will also create 1,000 jobs during the building process, as well as other more long-term jobs after it is finished.

This is a big step for Canada, as the plant will bring the country into the EV industry by having direct access to a key part of the battery making process. Trudeau claims that this plant will turn Canada into “a global leader in producing electric vehicles, from minerals to manufacturing.” It is also the first industrial scale manufacturing plant of its kind in North America, according to Ontario’s Economic Development minister, Vic Fedeli. The plant is predicted to be up and running by the end of 2025.

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