The world can’t wean itself off Chinese lithium

A customs officer inspects imported lithium carbonate at Longwu Branch Terminal of Shanghai İnternational Port Co., Ltd.

Enlarge / A customs officer inspects imported lithium carbonate at Longwu Branch Terminal of Shanghai İnternational Port Co., Ltd. (credit: VCG | Getty Images)

The industrial port of Kwinana on Australia’s western coast is a microcosm of the global energy industry. From 1955, it was home to one of the largest oil refineries in the region, owned by British Petroleum when it was still the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. It once provided 70 percent of Western Australia’s fuel supplies, and the metal husks of old tanks still dominate the shoreline, slowly turning to rust in the salt air.

The refinery shut down in March 2021, but it isn’t just oil below the region’s red soil: Australia is also home to almost half of the world’s lithium supply. The trucks and machinery are humming once again, but now they’re part of a race to secure the clean energy sources of the future—a race being dominated by China.

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#batteries, #battery-electric-vehicle, #china, #lithium, #lithium-ion-batteries, #tech

The rise and precarious reign of China’s battery king

Zeng Yuqun, chairman of Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL), poses for a photograph in Ningde, Fujian province, China, on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Enlarge / Zeng Yuqun, chairman of Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL), poses for a photograph in Ningde, Fujian province, China, on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images)

The headquarters of battery giant CATL tower over the coastal Chinese city of Ningde. To the untrained eye, the building resembles a huge slide rising out of the urban sprawl. It is, in fact, a giant monument to the company’s raison d’être: the lithium-ion battery pack.

You may have never heard of CATL, but you’ve definitely heard of the brands that rely on its batteries. The company supplies more than 30 percent of the world’s EV batteries and counts Tesla, Kia, and BMW among its clients. Its founder and chairman, 54-year-old Zeng Yuqun, also known as Robin Zeng, has rapidly emerged as the industry’s kingmaker. Insiders describe Zeng as savvy, direct, and even abrasive. Under his leadership, CATL’s valuation has ballooned to 1.2 trillion Chinese yuan ($179 billion), more than General Motors and Ford combined. Part of that fortune is built on owning stakes in mining projects in China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Indonesia, giving CATL a tighter grip on an already strained global battery supply chain.

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#batteries, #battery-electric-vehicles, #cars, #china, #electric-vehicles, #science

Tesla bundles battery users to make it look like lower power demand

Image of a battery installed on a home's wall.

Enlarge (credit: Tesla)

Last week, Tesla announced a program for California-based owners of its home battery products. Sign up with the company, and you’d become part of what the company calls a “virtual power plant.” You would be able to use your battery to keep the grid stable during periods of high demand and be well-compensated for the electrons.

While this may conjure images of Powerwall batteries across the state sending electricity to the grid during a crisis, that doesn’t appear to be what’s happening here. Instead, the batteries will be taking part in a utility’s program that’s designed to reduce demand, which the utility company will presumably do by using the battery to supply some of the demand inside the battery owner’s house. It’s a clever way for homeowners to take advantage of a program that’s otherwise limited to commercial users.

It’s an emergency

Tesla’s announcement of the program says that it will be part of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E, a California utility) Emergency Load Reduction Program, which we’ll focus on in the next section. At the moment, we’ll look at what participants will end up doing.

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#batteries, #demand-management, #energy, #grid-services, #grid-stability, #science, #tesla

I Tried Apple’s Self-Repair Program With My iPhone. Disaster Ensued.

Apple’s do-it-yourself tools and instructions are far from ideal for most of us. I know this because I broke my phone trying to use them.

#apple-inc, #batteries, #computers-and-the-internet, #content-type-service, #electronics, #iphone, #tools

Tesla’s Aura Dims as Its Plunging Stock Highlights the Risks It Faces

Production problems in China and Elon Musk’s pursuit of Twitter are leading investors to wonder whether the electric car company is worth as much as they thought.

#batteries, #corporate-social-responsibility, #discrimination, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #musk-elon, #san-francisco-bay-area-calif, #shanghai-china, #social-media, #stocks-and-bonds, #twitter, #united-states

The Tesla Effect: Snowmobiles, Boats and Mowers Go Electric

They’re quieter and better for the climate. But snow and water create new technological challenges for designers.

#all-terrain-vehicles-atv, #batteries, #boats-and-boating, #brp-companies, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #snowmobiles, #taiga-motors-inc, #tesla-motors-inc

Hurdle to Broad Adoption of E.V.s: The Misperception They’re Unsafe

Fully electric vehicles have fewer fires than gasoline-powered and hybrid cars, and their crash protection is at least equivalent.

#automobile-safety-features-and-defects, #batteries, #bureau-of-transportation-statistics, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #engineering-and-engineers, #engines, #mercedes-benz, #nissan-motor-co, #production, #tesla-motors-inc, #volvo-car-corp

US spending money to spur domestic battery production

Image of blue cylinders on a track that passes beneath industrial equipment.

Enlarge / Batteries roll through an automated assembly line. (credit: xPACIFICA/Getty Images)

On Monday, the US Department of Energy announced that it was releasing over $3 billion in funds to stimulate the production of batteries within the country. The funding is divided into two chunks, one intended to spur the processing of battery materials and manufacturing demos and the second for stimulating the reuse and recycling of electric vehicle batteries.

Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden’s administration started a review of the lithium battery industry in the US. The result was a “National Blueprint” that set out a series of priorities for stimulating domestic production and use.

These include:

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#batteries, #battery-manufacturing, #doe, #funding, #green-energy, #policy, #science

Lithium costs a lot of money—so why aren’t we recycling lithium batteries?

Image of batteries arranged in the outline of a recycling symbol.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Earth Day is April 22, and its usual message—take care of our planet—has been given added urgency by the challenges highlighted in the latest IPCC report. This year, Ars is taking a look at the technologies we normally cover, from cars to chipmaking, and finding out how we can boost their sustainability and minimize their climate impact.

Electric vehicles, power tools, smartwatches—Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere now. However, the materials to make them are finite, and sourcing them has environmental, humanitarian, and economic implications. Recycling is key to addressing those, but a recent study shows most Lithium-ion batteries never get recycled.

Lithium and several other metals that make up these batteries are incredibly valuable. The cost of raw lithium is roughly seven times what you’d pay for the same weight in lead, but unlike lithium batteries, almost all lead-acid batteries get recycled. So there’s something beyond pure economics at play.

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#batteries, #lithium-ion-battery, #policy, #recycling, #science

European Green Energy Firms Often Fall Short on Financing

Financing the next generation of green energy technologies means larger investments and getting venture capitalists to turn their attention away from “fast money.”

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #batteries, #bitner-jakob, #breakthrough-energy-coalition, #energy-and-power, #europe, #european-union, #fadell-anthony-m, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #innovation, #start-ups, #voltstorage

The Battery That Flies

A new aircraft being built in Vermont has no need for jet fuel. It can take off and land without a runway. Amazon and the Air Force are both betting on it. So who will be in the cockpit?

#batteries, #burlington-vt, #flying-cars, #freight-cargo, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #innovation, #pilots, #rothblatt-martine-a

Truck Makers Face a Tech Dilemma: Batteries or Hydrogen?

Under pressure to cut emissions, truck manufacturers are choosing between batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. Wagering incorrectly could cost them billions of dollars.

#ab-volvo, #batteries, #daimler-truck-ag, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #freightliner, #hydrogen, #iveco, #traton-se, #trucks-and-trucking, #united-states

EV makers counted on batteries getting cheaper; war changed the picture

The chassis and battery pack of a Volkswagen AG (VW) ID.5 electric sports utility vehicle (eSUV) on the assembly line during a media tour of the automaker's electric automobile factory in Zwickau, Germany.

Enlarge / The chassis and battery pack of a Volkswagen AG (VW) ID.5 electric sports utility vehicle (eSUV) on the assembly line during a media tour of the automaker’s electric automobile factory in Zwickau, Germany. (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images)

The car industry’s multibillion-dollar bet on electric vehicles was built on a single premise: that batteries would carry on getting cheaper.

In 2019, Volkswagen executives even brandished charts predicting a steady decline in battery costs as they laid out their ambition to consign the combustion engine to history.

For years the industry was proved right: battery costs fell from $1,000 per KWH for the first models more than a decade ago to about $130 in 2021, paving the way to making them affordable for middle-income families.

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#batteries, #battery-electric-cars, #bevs, #cars, #electric-cars, #manufacturing, #rare-earth-metals

Stopping Climate Change Is Doable, but Time Is Short, U.N. Panel Warns

A major new scientific report offers a road map for how countries can limit global warming, but warns that the margin for error is vanishingly small.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #batteries, #carbon-capture-and-sequestration, #carbon-dioxide, #coal, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #fuel-efficiency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #geothermal-power, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #intergovernmental-panel-on-climate-change, #land-use-policies, #natural-gas, #nuclear-energy, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #solar-energy, #wind-power

Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Boost Critical Mineral Supply

The action aims to enhance American production of crucial materials for electric vehicles, defense systems and other technologies.

#batteries, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #international-trade-and-world-market, #mines-and-mining, #rare-earths, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government

Ford F-150 Lightning beats targets, goes 320 miles in EPA testing

A Ford F-150 Lightning drives off road with a dirt bike in the back.

Enlarge / The F-150 Lightning will be offered as a SuperCrew cab with a 5.5-foot bed. (credit: Ford)

When Ford announced the F-150 Lightning, the company’s first electric pickup truck, the automaker pledged that the Lightning’s $40,000 base model would travel 230 miles on a full charge—and that the extended-range model would reach 300 miles. Not too shabby for a 6,500 lb truck with a not-insignificant drag area.

It turns out that at least one of those numbers was conservative. Ford said today that the base Lightning model did reach its predicted 230 miles under EPA testing and that the extended-range model sailed past estimates to reach 320 miles.

“We are laser focused on continually improving our energy consumption efficiency for Lightning, and the team is really happy to deliver these results for our customers,” said Linda Zhang, the trucks’s chief program engineer.

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#batteries, #cars, #electric-vehicles, #ev-range, #f-150-lightning

How the War in Ukraine Could Slow the Sales of Electric Cars

The price of nickel, an essential ingredient in most batteries, has soared because of fear that Russian supplies could be cut off.

#batteries, #commodities, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #futures-and-options-trading, #london-metal-exchange, #metals-and-minerals, #mines-and-mining, #nickel, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #russia, #russian-invasion-of-ukraine-2022, #shortages, #supply-chain

Apple iPhone SE Review: A Phone for the Anti-Consumer

Why spend more if you don’t have to? The new $430 iPhone meets all the criteria of what most of us need in a smartphone.

#5g-wireless-communications, #apple-inc, #batteries, #cameras, #content-type-service, #iphone, #mobile-applications, #smartphones, #telephones-and-telecommunications, #wireless-communications

Frustrated With Utilities, Some Californians Are Leaving the Grid

Citing more blackouts, wildfires and higher electricity rates, a growing number of homeowners are choosing to build homes that run entirely on solar panels and batteries.

#batteries, #california, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #electric-light-and-power, #nevada-county-calif, #pacific-gas-and-electric-co, #solar-energy, #sustainable-living, #wildfires

Carmakers Race to Control Next-Generation Battery Technology

The prize: batteries that would be cheaper, faster to charge and less vulnerable to raw material shortages. Whoever gets there first will have a major advantage.

#batteries, #cobalt, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #energy-department, #mercedes-benz, #quantumscape-corp

Before Invasion, Ukraine’s Lithium Wealth Was Drawing Global Attention

Chinese and Australian investors had been lining up to explore for lithium, a metal that is critical to batteries and the world’s transition to clean energy.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #batteries, #donetsk-ukraine, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #lithium-metal, #russian-invasion-of-ukraine-2022, #ukraine

Ukraine’s Russia Crisis Reveals the West’s False Sense of Energy Security

America must secure the raw materials that a clean energy future requires. 

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #batteries, #china, #defense-and-military-forces, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #europe, #germany, #lithium-metal, #moscow-russia, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #supply-chain, #ukraine, #united-states

Time-shifted computing could slash data center energy costs by up to 30%

Time-shifted computing could slash data center energy costs by up to 30%

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Recently, two computer scientists had an idea: if computers use energy to perform calculations, could stored data be a form of stored energy? Why not use computing as a way to store energy? 

What if information could be a battery, man?

As it turns out, the idea isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound. The “information battery” concept, fleshed out in a recent paper, would perform certain computations in advance when power is cheap—like when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing—and cache the results for later. The process could help data centers replace up to 30 percent of their energy use with surplus renewable power.

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#batteries, #data-center, #grid-management, #neural-networks, #science, #smart-grid

Why This Could Be a Critical Year for Electric Cars

Booming in a depressed market, battery-powered vehicles are a plus for the climate but pose a big threat to carmakers and parts suppliers that are slow to change.

#automobiles, #batteries, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #casesa-john-a, #center-for-automotive-research, #china, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #europe, #ford-motor-co, #fuel-efficiency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #general-motors, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #infrastructure-investment-and-jobs-act-2021, #keogh-scott, #lithium-metal, #mercedes-benz, #musk-elon, #porsche-ag, #southern-states-us, #tesla-motors-inc, #toyota-motor-corp, #united-states, #volkswagen-ag

Why Tesla Soared as Other Automakers Struggled to Make Cars

The yawning disparity between the performance of the electric car company and established automakers last year reflects the technological change roiling the industry.

#automobiles, #batteries, #company-reports, #computers-and-the-internet, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #mercedes-benz, #musk-elon, #shortages, #shutdowns-institutional, #supply-chain, #tesla-motors-inc, #toyota-motor-corp, #volkswagen-ag

As Miners Chase Clean-Energy Minerals, Tribes Fear a Repeat of the Past

Mining the minerals that may be needed for a green energy revolution could devastate tribal lands. The Biden administration will be forced to choose.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #batteries, #environment, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #idaho, #mines-and-mining, #native-americans, #nez-perce-indians, #rivers, #salmon, #treaties, #water-pollution

How China’s CATL Became the Top Electric Car Battery Maker

Beijing gave CATL lavish subsidies, a captive market of buyers and soft regulatory treatment, helping it to control a crucial technology of the future.

#automobile-safety-features-and-defects, #batteries, #bhr-partners, #biden-hunter, #byd-co-ltd, #china, #cobalt, #contemporary-amperex-technology-ltd, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #general-motors, #international-trade-and-world-market, #lithium-metal, #ningde-china, #qinghai-province-china, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #robin-zeng, #stocks-and-bonds

Battling for Bolivia’s Lithium That’s Vital to Electric Cars

Chinese and Russian industrial giants seek to tap mineral deposits vital to electric cars. A Texas entrepreneur has his own strategy: the long game.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #automobiles, #batteries, #bolivia, #egan-teague, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #energyx, #entrepreneurship, #foreign-investments, #international-relations, #lithium-metal, #mines-and-mining

GM’s EV Efforts Reportedly Include a Bigger Michigan Presence

The company will make electric pickups at an existing plant and batteries at a factory built with a partner, a person with knowledge of the plan said.

#automobiles, #batteries, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #general-motors, #labor-and-jobs, #lg-electronics, #production

Hunt for the ‘Blood Diamond of Batteries’ Impedes Green Energy Push

Dangerous mining conditions plague Congo, home to the world’s largest supply of cobalt, a key ingredient in electric cars. A leadership battle threatens reforms.

#batteries, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #child-labor, #china-molybdenum-co-ltd, #cobalt, #congo-democratic-republic-of-congo-kinshasa, #corruption-institutional, #gertler-dan-1973, #global-warming, #kabila-joseph, #mines-and-mining, #mobutu-sese-seko, #politics-and-government, #trump-donald-j, #trump-donald-j-jr, #tshisekedi-felix, #yuma-mulimbi-albert

Could Roads Recharge Electric Cars? The Technology May Be Close.

But challenges await, including technical issues, regulatory barriers and many miles of highway.

#automobile-service-and-charging-stations, #batteries, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #future-of-transportation, #infrastructure-public-works, #roads-and-traffic

Tesla forced to turn down €1.1 billion in EU support for German battery plant

A Tesla logo superimposed over a mess of numbers and figures.

(credit: Tesla / Aurich Lawson)

Tesla has been forced to turn down more than €1.1 billion in European subsidies for its planned battery plant near Berlin after delays to the flagship project breached a key condition of the funding.

The electric car maker had applied for the money through an EU program established to develop the battery industry on the continent.

The EU requires any sites in receipt of the funds to be the “first industrial deployment” of the technology, according to official documents, meaning the batteries cannot already be made at another Tesla plant.

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#batteries, #cars, #energy, #eu, #tesla

Can Hydrogen Save The Airline Industry’s Fuel Challenges? It’s Got a Way to Go.

Small, experimental hydrogen-powered planes are paving the way for net-zero carbon aviation by 2050. But the route is rocky.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #alternative-and-renewable-energy, #batteries, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #future-of-transportation, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hydrogen

Global Rivalries Are Miring the Clean Energy Revolution

The quest for Congo’s cobalt, which is vital for electric vehicles and the worldwide push against climate change, is caught in a cycle of exploitation, greed and gamesmanship.

#africa, #alternative-and-renewable-energy, #archer-devon, #batteries, #bhr-partners, #biden-hunter, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #cobalt, #congo-democratic-republic-of-congo-kinshasa, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #ford-motor-co, #freeport-mcmoran-oilgas-inc, #general-motors, #glencore-international-ag, #global-warming, #kabila-joseph, #mines-and-mining, #national-security-council, #obama-barack, #politics-and-government, #tesla-motors-inc, #trump-donald-j, #tshisekedi-felix, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government

How Hunter Biden’s Firm Helped Secure Cobalt for the Chinese

The president’s son was part owner of a venture involved in the $3.8 billion purchase by a Chinese conglomerate of one of the world’s largest cobalt deposits. The metal is a key ingredient in batteries for electric vehicles.

#automobiles, #batteries, #biden-hunter, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #cobalt, #congo-democratic-republic-of-congo-kinshasa, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #mines-and-mining, #politics-and-government, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government

Can we use big batteries to power our trains?

An eastbound manifest freight swoops through an S curve in Lombard Canyon, just east of Toston, Montana, on September 11, 2011. The tracks here snake along the Missouri River between Toston and Lombard.

Enlarge / An eastbound manifest freight swoops through an S curve in Lombard Canyon, just east of Toston, Montana, on September 11, 2011. The tracks here snake along the Missouri River between Toston and Lombard. (credit: Mike Danneman / Getty Images)

With the rapid pace of development in electric vehicles, we will likely get to a place where eliminating carbon emissions from one form of transport is possible. But cleaning up the remaining major modes—planes, trains, and ships—appears to be considerably more challenging. A new analysis suggests we have a good idea of how to improve one of those.

The study, performed by California-based researchers, looks at the possibility of electrifying rail-based freight. It finds that the technology is pretty much ready, and under the right circumstances, the economics are on the verge of working out. Plus, putting giant batteries on freight cars has the potential to create some interesting side benefits.

Giving freight a jolt

Right now, most freight in the US is moved by diesel-powered locomotives. In a typical year, these locomotives produce about 35 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, and the rest of the pollutants they make are estimated to cause 1,000 premature deaths and $6.5 billion in health damages.

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#batteries, #energy, #freight, #green, #rail, #renewable-energy, #science

America Isn’t Ready for the Electric-Vehicle Revolution

Its battery supply chain runs through China, and that’s not changing any time soon.

#batteries, #china, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #politics-and-government, #united-states

Old Power Gear Is Slowing Use of Clean Energy and Electric Cars

Some people and businesses seeking to use solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles find they can’t because utility equipment needs an upgrade.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #automobiles, #batteries, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #electric-light-and-power, #pacific-gas-and-electric-co, #power-failures-and-blackouts, #solar-energy

Google Pixel 6 Review: Playing Catch-Up With the iPhone

With long battery life and nice cameras, the new Google devices excel at what popular phones have done for years. Is that enough?

#android-operating-system, #apple-inc, #artificial-intelligence, #batteries, #computers-and-the-internet, #content-type-service, #google-inc, #innovation, #iphone, #japanese-language, #mobile-applications, #photography, #smartphones, #software, #translation-and-interpreters

China’s solar power has reached price parity with coal

All that's missing are some batteries.

Enlarge / All that’s missing are some batteries. (credit: Jia Yu / Getty Images)

The incredible plunge in the price of photovoltaic systems has made solar power an affordable option for much of the world. And, as long as solar is providing a small fraction of the power on a given grid, there’s little holding back the addition of new photovoltaic facilities. But as the fraction of solar power grows, managing the fact that it only generates electricity intermittently becomes a significant grid-management challenge.

At that point, factors other than price become significant in determining how much solar energy makes sense. And those factors can vary from country to country. This means that understanding solar’s potential requires a country-specific analysis. This week, researchers in China released an analysis of their country, indicating that solar has now reached a point where it’s cost-competitive with coal. The report also states that solar (when coupled with storage) could handle nearly half of China’s needs by midcentury.

A changing landscape

Like everywhere else, China has seen the cost of solar power dive over the last decade, with a 63 percent drop between 2011 and 2018 alone. In line with that, the installation of solar has risen dramatically. Currently, a third of the entire planet’s new solar capacity is being commissioned in China; the country passed the installed capacity of the US in 2013 and Germany in 2015, and it now has over 250 GW active—well more than double what its economic plan had specified by this point.

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#batteries, #china, #green, #renewable-power, #science, #solar-power

Are Tesla and Texas a Perfect Match? It’s Questionable.

While its C.E.O., Elon Musk, and the state’s conservative lawmakers share libertarian sensibilities, they differ greatly on climate change and renewable energy.

#abbott-gregory-w-1957, #alternative-and-renewable-energy, #austin-tex, #automobiles, #batteries, #california, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #energy-and-power, #law-and-legislation, #musk-elon, #politics-and-government, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #relocation-of-business, #silicon-valley-calif, #solar-energy, #tesla-motors-inc, #texas, #wind-power

Ford Will Build 4 Factories in a Big Electric Vehicle Push

The automaker and a supplier will spend $11.4 billion on three battery factories and a truck plant, creating 11,000 jobs.

#automobiles, #batteries, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #ford-motor-co, #kentucky, #labor-and-jobs, #sk-group, #sports-utility-vehicles-and-light-trucks, #tennessee, #united-automobile-workers

Why Louisiana’s Electric Grid Failed in Hurricane Ida

Much of the state, including New Orleans, lost power for days because many of Entergy’s electrical poles and towers were not built to withstand a major hurricane, energy experts said.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #batteries, #disasters-and-emergencies, #electric-light-and-power, #energy-and-power, #entergy-corporation, #global-warming, #hurricane-ida-2021, #hurricane-laura-2020, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #louisiana, #new-orleans-la, #power-failures-and-blackouts, #solar-energy, #weather, #wind

Gogoro will go public on Nasdaq after $2.35B SPAC deal

Gogoro is going public. The company, which is best known for its electric Smartscooters and swappable battery infrastructure, announced today it will list on Nasdaq through a merger with Poema Global, a SPAC affiliated with Princeville Capital. The deal sets Gogoro’s enterprise valuation at $2.35 billion and is targeted to close in the first quarter of 2022. The combined company will be known as Gogoro Inc and trade under the symbol GGR.

Assuming no redemptions, Gogoro anticipates making $550 million in proceeds, including an oversubscribed PIPE (private investment in public equity) of over $250 million and $345 million held in trust by Poema Global. Investors in the PIPE include strategic partners like Hon Hai (Foxconn) Technology Group and GoTo, the Indonesian tech giant created through the merger of Gojek and Tokopedia, and new and existing investors like Generation Investment Management, Taiwan’s National Development Fund, Temasek and Dr. Samuel Yin of Ruentex Group, Gogoro’s founding investor.

The capital will be used on Gogoro’s expansion in China, India and Southeast Asia and further development of its tech ecosystem.

Founded ten years ago in Taiwan, Gogoro’s technology includes smart swappable batteries and their charging infrastructure and cloud software that monitors the condition and performance of vehicles and batteries. Apart from its own brands, including Smartscooters and Eeyo electric bikes, Gogoro also makes its platform available through its Powered by Gogoro Network (PBGN) program, which enables partners to create vehicles that use Gogoro’s batteries and swapping stations.

Gogoro’s SPAC deal comes a few months after it announced major partnerships in China and India. In China, it is working with Yadea and DCJ to build a battery-swapping network, and in India, Hero MotoCorp, one of the world’s largest two-wheel vehicle makers, will launch scooters based on Gogoro’s tech. It also has deals with manufacturers like Yamaha, Suzuki, AeonMotor, PGO and CMC eMOVING.

With these partnerships in place, “we really now need to take our company to the next level,” founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke told TechCrunch. Gogoro decided to go the SPAC route because “you can talk a lot deeper about what the business opportunity is, what the structure is, what the partnerships are, so you can properly value a company rather than a quick roadshow. Given our business plans, it gives us a great opportunity to focus on the expansion,” he said.

One of the reasons Gogoro decided to work with Poema is because “their thesis is quite aligned with ours,” said Bruce Aitken, Gogoro’s chief financial officer. “They have, for example, a sustainability fund, so our passion for green and sustainability merges well with that.”

Gogoro says that in less than five years, it has accumulated more than $1 billion in revenue and more than 400,000 subscribers for its battery swapping infrastructure. The company will launch its China pilot program in Hangzhou in the fourth-quarter of this year, followed by about six more cities next year. In India, Hero MotoCorp is currently developing its first Gogoro-powered vehicle and will begin deploying its battery-swapping infrastructure in New Delhi in 2022.

“We see the demand in China as a lot bigger than we first anticipated, so that’s all good news for us, and that’s one of the fundamental reasons why we need to go public because we need to raise the capital and resources needed for us to actually contribute in a big way to these markets,” said Luke.

When asked if Gogoro is planning to strike a similar partnership with GoTo to expand into Southeast Asia, Luke said the “important thing is to recognize that Southeast Asia is the third-largest market outside of China and India for two-wheelers. Gogoro has always had the vision to go after these big markets. GoTo, being a great success in Indonesia, their investment in Gogoro will start conversations, but there isn’t anything to announce at this point other than that they’re joining the PIPE.”

In a press statement, Poema Global CEO Homer Sun said, “We believe the technology differentiation Gogoro has developed in combination with the world-class partnerships it has forged will drive significant growth opportunities in the two largest two-wheeler markets in the world. We are committed with working alongside Gogoro’s outstanding management team to support its geographic expansion plans and its transition to a Nasdaq-listed company.”


#asia, #batteries, #china, #fundings-exits, #gogoro, #india, #indonesia, #mobility, #poema-global, #scooters, #southeast-asia, #spac, #startups, #taiwan, #tc, #transportation

EnerVenue raises $100M to accelerate clean energy using nickel-hydrogen batteries

In order to support a buildout of renewable energy, which tends to over-generate electricity at certain times of day and under-generate at others, the grid is going to need a lot of batteries. While lithium-ion works fine for consumer electronics and even electric vehicles, battery startup EnerVenue says it developed a breakthrough technology to revolutionize stationary energy storage.

The technology itself – nickel-hydrogen batteries – isn’t actually new. In fact, it’s been used for decades in aerospace applications, to power everything from satellites to the International Space Station and the Hubble Telescope. Nickel-hydrogen had been too expensive to scale for terrestrial applications, until Stanford University professor (and now EnerVenue chairman) Yi Cui determined a way to adapt the materials and bring the costs way, way down.

Nickel-hydrogen has a number of key benefits over lithium-ion, according to EnerVenue: it can withstand super-high and super-low temperatures (so no need for air conditioners or thermal management systems); it requires very little to no maintenance; and it has a far longer lifespan.

The technology has caught the eye of two giants in the oil and gas industry, energy infrastructure company Schlumberger and Saudi Aramco’s VC arm, who together with Stanford University have raised $100 million in Series A funding. The investment comes around a year after EnerVenue raised a $12 million seed. The company is planning on using the funds to scale its nickel-hydrogen battery production, including a Gigafactory in the U.S., and has entered a manufacturing and distribution agreement with Schlumberger for international markets.

“I spent almost three and a half years prior to EnerVenue looking for a battery storage technology that I thought could compete with lithium-ion,” CEO Jorg Heinemann told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “I had essentially given up.” Then he met with Cui, who had managed through his research to bring the cost down from around $20,000 per kilowatt hour to $100 per kilowatt hour within line of sight – a jaw-dropping decrease that puts it on-par with existing energy storage technology today.

EnerVenue CEO Jorg Heinemann Image Credits: EnerVenue (opens in a new window)

Think of a nickel-hydrogen battery as a kind of battery-fuel cell hybrid. It charges by building up hydrogen inside a pressure vessel, and when it discharges, that hydrogen gets reabsorbed in water, Heinemann explained. One of the key differences between the batteries in space and the one’s EnerVenue is developing on Earth is the materials. The nickel-hydrogen batteries in orbit use a platinum electrode, which Heinemann said accounts for as much as 70% of the cost of the battery. The legacy technology also uses a ceramic separator, another high cost. EnerVenue’s key innovation is finding new, low-cost and Earth-abundant materials (though the exact materials they aren’t sharing).

Heinemann also hinted that an advanced team within the company is working on a separate technology breakthrough that could bring the cost down even further, to the range of around $30 per kilowatt hour or less.

Those aren’t the only benefits. EnerVenue’s batteries can charge and discharge at different speeds depending on a customer’s needs. It can go from a 10-minute charge or discharge to as slow as a 10-20 hour charge-discharge cycle, though the company is optimizing for a roughly 2 hour charge and 4-8 hour discharge. EnerVenue’s batteries are also designed for 30,000 cycles without experiencing a decline in performance.

“As renewables get cheaper and cheaper, there’s lots of time of the day where you’ve got, say, a 1-4-hour window of close to free power that can be used to charge something, and then it has to be dispatched fast or slow depending on when the grid needs it,” he said. “And our battery does that really well.”

It’s notable that this round was funded by two companies that loom large in the oil and gas industry. “I think it’s nearly 100% of the oil and gas industry is now pivoting to renewables in a huge way,” Heinemann added. “They all see the future as, the energy mix is shifting. We’re going to be 75% renewable by mid-century, most think it’s going to happen quicker, and those are based on studies that the oil and gas industry did. They see that and they know they need a new play.”

Image Credits: EnerVenue

Don’t expect nickel-hydrogen to start appearing in your iPhone anytime soon. The technology is big and heavy – even scaled down as much as possible, a nickel-hydrogen battery is still around the size of a two-liter water flask, so lithium-ion will definitely still play a major role in the future.

Stationary energy storage may have a different future. EnerVenue is currently in “late-stage” discussions on the site and partner for a United States factory to produce up to one gigawatt-hour of batteries annually, with the goal of eventually scaling even beyond that. Heinemann estimates that the tooling cap-ex per megawatt hour should be just 20% that of lithium ion. Under the partnership with Schlumberger, the infrastructure company will also be separately manufacturing batteries and selling them in Europe and the Middle East.

“It’s a technology that works today,” Heinemann said. “We’re not waiting on a technology breakthrough, there’s no science project in our future that we have to go achieve in order to prove out something. We know it works.”

#batteries, #cleantech, #energy-storage, #enervenue, #funding, #greentech, #recent-funding, #renewable-energy, #startups, #storage, #tc

Biden Offers Ambitious Blueprint for Solar Energy

The Energy Department analysis provides only a broad outline, and many of the details will be decided by congressional lawmakers.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #batteries, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #electric-light-and-power, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #solar-energy, #united-states-politics-and-government

Your Batteries Are Due for Disruption

This week, a more efficient type of battery arrives in a wristband fitness tracker. It could soon reach smart glasses, cars and even aircraft.

#advanced-research-projects-agency-energy, #batteries, #berdichevsky-gene, #computers-and-the-internet, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #electronics, #factories-and-manufacturing, #lithium-metal, #quantumscape-corp, #sila-nanotechnologies-inc, #silicon, #wearable-computing, #whoop-inc

After ignoring EVs for too long, Toyota will invest $13.6 billion in batteries

Toyota's first modern battery EV will be the bZ4x, due in 2022.

Enlarge / Toyota’s first modern battery EV will be the bZ4x, due in 2022. (credit: Toyota)

Toyota was an early pioneer in hybrid electric vehicles, and it has sold more than 18 million hybrids since the introduction of the first Prius in 1997. But it’s fair to say that the world’s largest automaker has been left behind in the shift toward battery EVs.

That situation looks like it’s set to change. On Tuesday, Toyota announced that it will spend $13.6 billion (¥1.5 trillion) on batteries between now and 2030. Of that money, $9 billion (¥1 trillion) will go toward battery production, with a planned output of 180 to 200 GWh/year by the end of the decade.

“What Toyota values the most is to develop batteries that its customers can use with peace of mind. Especially, we are focusing on safety, long service life, and high-level quality to produce good, low-cost, and high-performance batteries,” said Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda.

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#batteries, #cars, #electric-vehicles, #lithium-ion-battery, #solid-state-batteries, #toyota

From 4% to 45%: Biden Sets an Ambitious Plan for Solar Energy

The administration has offered only a broad outline of its plan, and many of the details will be decided by congressional lawmakers.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #batteries, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #disasters-and-emergencies, #electric-light-and-power, #energy-department, #global-warming, #granholm-jennifer-m, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #solar-energy, #tax-credits-deductions-and-exemptions, #united-states, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government

Biden’s Electric Car Plans Hinge on Having Enough Chargers

The United States has about 100,000 public chargers, far fewer than Europe and China. It needs 10 times as many, auto experts say, to complete the switch from combustion engine vehicles.

#american-jobs-plan-2021, #automobile-service-and-charging-stations, #automobiles, #batteries, #chargepoint-inc, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #electric-light-and-power, #electrify-america-llc, #evbox-bv, #evgo-services-llc, #infrastructure-public-works, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #private-equity, #special-purpose-acquisition-companies-spac, #stocks-and-bonds, #tesla-motors-inc, #tpg-capital, #venture-capital, #volkswagen-ag, #volta-industries-inc