France - One great use for 'retired' electric vehicle batteries has been realised through a new collaboration. Seine Alliance, a river tourism company has partnered with Groupe Renault and Green-Vision to launch Black Swan, its first fully electric cruiser. The new passenger craft uses second-life EV Renault batteries. The batteries, which weigh 278 kg, are lighter than the fuel tanks which used to power them. Seine Alliance hope to have a fleet which is 100% electric by 2024. Read more
Toyota- Toyota is planning to expand into the Chinese battery EV market. On Thursday, they announced a joint venture with Chinese EV manufacturer BYD. The company will be established in China in 2020 and will develop battery EVs. “We aim to combine BYD’s strengths in development and competitiveness in the battery electric vehicle market with Toyota’s quality and safety technology to provide the best BEV products for the market demand and consumer affection as early as we can," said BYD senior vice president Lian Yu-bo. BYD, was founded in 1955 and was initially a battery business. It is quarter-owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Read more
China and CATL- In 2018 60% of the 2.1M electric vehicles sold world-wide were Chinese. According to the Wall Street Journal, China asserted its position in the industry several years ago by pressuring foreign auto makers to only use Chinese batteries. This comes as no surprise as batteries are the most profitable part of an electric vehicle. CATL, the only company then capable of producing such batteries at scale is today the world's leading EV battery maker by number of factories and their combined scale. CATL is now branching out beyond China into Germany (opening its first overseas plant in 2021) with BMW AG as its first customer. In December they opened a U.S sales office in Detroit but due to trade battles its prospects are uncertain. Read more
Volvo- Volvo has announced on Wednesday that it is planning to track, through the deployment of blockchain technology, the sourcing of cobalt which is often not done responsibly. Cobalt is a rare-earth material which is critical for the making of batteries. By doing so, Volvo will be able to track the origin, weight and size of the cobalt, who is handling it and how, all through the supply chain. Both of Volvo's battery suppliers, LG Chem and CATL have agreed to cooperate with the initiative. BMW have also taken similar measures in 2017 when they promised to provide transparency in the battery supply chain. Read more
Range anxiety is a fear which plays a major role in EV consumer behavior. AutoExpress have listed the cars with the longest ranges available today:
The Renault ZOE, which is one of the cheapest EV on sale achieves a 245-mile range with an attractive starting price of £22,000 (before governmental subsidies) with the option of extending the range with an additional cost for the 52kWh battery version.
The luxury SUV, the Audi e-tron, is not cheap (£70,000) but has a 248-mile range using a 95kWh battery. It is compatible with 150kW chargers for speedy charging.
The Jaguar I-Pace with 292-mile range has a battery of 90kWh which despite being smaller than the one found in the Audi e-tron , it obtains a few more miles due to its lighter body. Last, Tesla's Model S has an impressive range of 379 miles available from its 100kW battery. Model S also has one of the best semi-autonomous (Level 2 autonomy) systems available today. Read more
The Jaguar I-Pace