Repost from MINING.COM | Copper and base metals markets are having terrible week, but the rally in the price of cobalt shows no signs of fizzling out. The metal quoted on the LME rose to a fresh 9-year peak of $81,500 a tonne yesterday, a 147% surge since the beginning of 2017.
Lithium carbonate prices began its run up two years ago, going from $6,100 per tonne to average $23,350 so far this year on hopes of a boom in demand from electric vehicle manufacturers. Nickel, where EVs hardly registers on the demand side compared to steelmaking, have also been swept up by the positive sentiment and last year prices jumped by 25%.
On Friday luxury vehicle maker BMW said it’s close to signing a 10-year supply contract for lithium and cobalt according to a report in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoted by Reuters. Markus Duesmann, purchasing executive for the German marque, said “the aim is to secure the supply all the way down to the level of the mine, for 10 years. The contracts are ready to be signed.”
BMW recently said it believes its needs for car-battery raw materials will grow 10-fold by 2025 and that it had been surprised by “just how quickly demand will accelerate”. BMW plans to offer 25 electrified vehicles by 2025 and like many of its peers prefer the use of nickel-magnesium-cobalt batteries (EV pioneer Tesla’s battery technology does not require cobalt).
Traditional carmakers are scrambling to retool their businesses for the electric vehicle market. In January Ford said it’s doubling its investment in the sector to $11 billion over the next five years. French carmaker Peugeot said it’s returning to North America with an entire fleet of electrified vehicles by 2025 while Volkswagen is targeting a 300-model battery-powered lineup by 2030.
Volkswagen will invest more than $40 billion in the next five years as part of a push into battery-powered vehicles and autonomous-driving systems. Daimler AG is spending 10 billion euros on 10 battery models by 2022. BMW said separately on Friday that it put a procurement partnership with Daimler on ice as a result of an investigation into potential antitrust behaviour by German carmakers Reuters reports.
The boom in electric cars could more than quadruple demand for cobalt to in excess of 450,000 tonnes by 2030 from less than 100,000 tonnes last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
New Delhi, India – Uniti, Sweden’s newest electric carmaker, and Bird Group, India’s fastest growing business conglomerate, announced today their intention to enter the Indian market,which they will initiate by way of a public exhibition at India Auto Expo. The intent of this effort is to bring a stylish yet affordable, 100% electric city car to the Indian market in 2020 with a price tag starting from ₹7,14,000 (approx. €9,000). Both companies will be on hand at Auto Expo 2018 in New Delhi to discuss their plans during a press event scheduled for February 8th. The general public will then be among the first in Asia to see the Uniti One up close from February 9th through the 14th.
“Our vehicles are optimal for the Indian market and well aligned with the nation’s strong demand for clean mobility. Bird Group was identified as an ideal partner due to their experience in the mobility sector, along with their capacity for local assembly and mass distribution of our vehicles,” said Lewis Horne, CEO of Uniti.
Uniti plans to bring a 5-seat configuration of its EV to the Indian market with a single-charge range of approximately 200 km. Expo attendees will be offered a virtual reality demonstration of this 5-seater along with a hands-on view of the 2-seat, European model that debuted in front of a 2,000+ strong crowd in Landskrona, Sweden last December. All Uniti models are considered premium vehicles, noted for their unique user experience, modern approach to safety and sustainable production. First deliveries in India are intended for 2020 with a retail price starting from ₹7,14,000. Prospective customers can join a rapidly growing list of Uniti enthusiasts for a fully refundable deposit of ₹1,000. Pre-ordering the Uniti One will offer early access to the online vehicle configurator, eligibility for the pending beta test program, and early delivery among other perks. Further details and purchase options are available online at www.uniti.earth/in.
“With our immense experience in various businesses, including automotive, and our footprint in almost every geographical part of our country, we hope our initiative will bring the best of affordable, yet very high-tech cars into every household and change the way people drive. We are also glad that our diversification into the manufacturing of EVs will contribute to the drive against pollution, which is now affecting almost every major metro in our country,” said Dr. Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director at Bird Group. “This initiative will not only create huge opportunities and numerous jobs in our factories and dealership network, it will also help boost the Indian economy through large-scale exports manufactured by our JV Company into the markets of the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa,” added Bhatia.
Uniti exists to design and produce ultra-modern, high performance, premium electric cars and bring these cars to mass market. Uniti vehicles are lightweight and designed with a particular focus on holistic sustainability. Our first vehicle, Uniti One, was launched in December 2017 at its production facility in Landskrona, Sweden.
ABOUT BIRD GROUP
With over 45+ years of experience in India, Bird Group is amongst the largest and most diversified group of various entities within the industry. With businesses as diverse as pioneering back- office processing to being the representative for many of the world’s leading airlines; from managing the backbone of the technological framework for airline IT and distribution to managing crucial relationships of international service providers, Bird Group has ensured that a comprehensive portfolio of service offering has been created to add value to an extensive client base and add new potential customers. Today Bird Group’s core business includes Travel Technology, Aviation Services, Hospitality, Retail and Education.
New division between wheel and axle: Continental presents the New Wheel Concept, which optimizes the braking system specifically of the electric vehicle (EV).
The design enables the use of a large aluminum brake disk and solves the problem of bad braking performance due to corroded brake disks.
The dual New Wheel Concept also reduces the weight of the wheel and brake and reduces service costs due to a lifetime brake disk and an easy brake pad change.
Frankfurt/Main, Germany. The technology company Continental has again expanded its solution portfolio for electric vehicles, developing the New Wheel Concept to meet the specific requirements of these vehicles. The wheel rim consists of two aluminum (Al) parts, the inner Al carrier star with the Al brake disk and the outer Al rim well with the tire. In contrast to conventional wheel brakes, the New Wheel Concept brake engages the Al disk from the inside. This allows it to have a particularly large diameter, which benefits the braking performance.
To increase the vehicle’s range, deceleration in the EV generates as much electricity as possible through recuperation (= braking using the electric motor), so the wheel brake is used less frequently. The corrosion-free Al brake disk also prevents the formation of rust (as is normal on cast-iron disks) which can impair the braking effect.
“Electromobility needs new solutions for braking technology too,” says Matthias Matic, Head of Continental’s Hydraulic Brake Systems Business Unit. “Using conventional brakes is not very effective in this case. The New Wheel Concept meets all the demands that electric driving places on the brake. We used our braking know-how to develop a solution that provides a consistently reliable braking effect in the electric vehicle.”
Thanks to the lightweight material, the New Wheel Concept reduces the weight of the wheel and brake, enabling lightweight construction in EVs. Advantages of the concept are much easier wheel and brake pad changes and that the disk is not subject to wear.
Rethinking the wheel
The New Wheel Concept is based on a new division between the wheel and the axle. Here the wheel consists of two parts, the aluminum carrier star, which remains permanently bolted to the wheel hub, and the rim well, which is bolted to the star. The wheel brake is fastened to the wheel carrier of the axle and engages from the inside with an annular aluminum brake disk, which in turn is bolted to the carrier star. The internal brake permits a wide brake disk friction radius, since the space available in the wheel is optimally utilized. During its development, the New Wheel Concept’s braking performance was initially designed for medium and compact class vehicles. In accordance with today’s requirements for this application, the brake is sturdy and fulfills all the established criteria – although it is used much less frequently in an EV.
“In EVs, it’s crucial that the driver expends as little energy as possible on the friction brake,” says Paul Linhoff, Head of Brake Pre-Development in the Chassis & Safety Business Unit at Continental. “During a deceleration, the momentum of the vehicle is converted into electricity in the generator to increase the vehicle’s range. That’s why the driver continues to operate the brake pedal – but it certainly doesn’t mean that the wheel brakes are active too.” The deceleration torque of the electric motor is only no longer sufficient by itself when the driver brakes more energetically, or braking also has to carried out with the non-driven axle for driving dynamics reasons. The wheel brake is needed in this situation – and it must be available. “Drivers want to be able to rely on a consistent braking effect – and too much rust on the brake disk in particular can really make this difficult,” Linhoff emphasizes. The reason behind the reduced performance is less friction between the brake pad and the brake disk. The automatic emergency braking function also has to fully rely on the availability of the friction brake effect.
In perfect harmony – material and design
The design of the New Wheel Concept uses the strengths of lightweight aluminum material for the brake. Thanks to the long leverage effect on the large brake disk, relatively low clamping forces are enough to provide a high level of braking efficiency – and since aluminum is a very good heat conductor, the heat generated in the disk during braking is quickly dissipated.
Continental assumes, after the results of the initial practical tests, that the Al disk itself is not subject to wear, unlike cast-iron disks. With the New Wheel Concept, abrasion only takes place on the pads, and the design of the Concept makes replacing them – and the wheels – much easier. The New Wheel Concept has yet another positive: “Because the brake disk is fixed on the outside and the brake engages from the inside, the brake caliper can be designed particularly light and stiff. The force is transmitted largely symmetrically into the center of the axle, and this has a favorable effect on the noise behavior of the brake,” says Linhoff – and that’s a side effect which is particularly attractive in a quiet EV.
Continental will also demonstrate the New Wheel Concept during the International Motor Show, IAA in Frankfurt/Main (Hall 5.1. Booth A07 / A08).
Rimac Automobili is a Croatian car manufacturer that develops and produces high-performance electric cars, drivetrain and battery systems, headquartered at Sveta Nedelja, Croatia. Rimac Automobili’s first model, the Concept One, is known as the world’s fastest production electric vehicle. While Rimac sells high-performance vehicles under their own brand, the company develops and produces drivetrain systems and full vehicles for other companies. Greyp Bikes is a sister company that makes electric bikes.
Current openings at Rimac Automobili and Greyp Bikes:
Note: click on the respective job titles for more details.