As we head into the Labor Day weekend, it is amazing how much Labor is going to be going on over the next couple of years in North America. Many new announcements have been made about upcoming EVs, yet bigger yet is the massive investment into new Battery Manufacturing sites here in the US.
Back in 2019 there were plenty of collaborations by auto companies with college startups of battery research such as Hyundai and Mercedes investing in a company called Factorial which Stellantis joined in investing in 2021 that was researching solid state batteries for future EVs. We have over the last 6 months covered many of the battery startup companies in the following list:
With all these new startups researching various designs on EV battery packs, people in the news and even here on Cheers and Gears started conversations with posts that in some cases were very accurate and in others complete FUD. Not because anyone was trying to push FUD, but it did make us realize that there is a bunch of Fears and Myths about EVs and as such, the following was published to help people better understand the upcoming future of EVs.
Now that we have brought you up to speed on the last 6 months, we can now discuss this week of crazy announcements. We will start by talking about the press releases by Factorial, Hyundai, Mercedes and Stellantis. Factorial has cracked the code on their solid-state batteries and as such having a solid electrolyte, they can better move ions between the anode and cathode. This means faster and denser charging and discharging of the battery. The solid-state batteries have decreased the interfacial resistance between the anode and cathode and with that, came the announcement that Factorial will build their first manufacturing plant in Methuen, Massachusetts to produce the proprietary Factorial Electrolyte System Technology Cells (FEST). This production site come with a multi-billion backing from Stellantis with the rights to get the cells first for EV testing and production. The Factorial Manufacturing plant will open early 2023 creating 166 jobs after the buildout of the existing 67,000 sq-ft building.
To quote Factorial CEO Siyu Huang:
"These cells," she said, "will be used by Factorial’s OEM development partners for validation of Factorial’s technology, as well as continuous development of Factorial's solid-state EV battery products."
Stellantis announced a $6.6 billion investment in two battery production sites, first located in Windsor, Ontario and the second site in Kokomo, Indiana. These sites will start with traditional Lithium-ion liquid cells but upon validation will convert over to Solid State.
Colorado based Solid Power Inc. which is backed by Ford and BMW has announced that they have finished building their pilot cell assembly line and will start delivering solid-state batteries to their OEM auto companies for prototype testing by Dec 31st, 2022.
The CEOs of the legacy auto companies have all had various press releases, but Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has a short and to the point announcement stating the following: “Our investment in Factorial and other highly recognized battery partners boosts the speed and agility needed to provide cutting-edge technology for our electric vehicle portfolio,” “Initiatives like these will yield a faster time to market and a more cost-effective transition to solid-state technology.”
The big news on the Factorial front is that they have stated the following: Based in Woburn, Mass., Factorial Energy is developing breakthrough solid-state batteries that offer longer range per charge and increased safety and aim to be cost competitive with conventional lithium-ion batteries. The company’s proprietary FEST™ (Factorial Electrolyte System Technology) leverages a solid electrolyte material, which has the potential to enable safe and reliable cell performance with high-capacity cathode and anode materials. FEST™ has been successfully scaled in 40Ah cells, works at room temperature, and is highly compatible with existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing equipment. The company has entered into joint development agreements with Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis, and Hyundai Motor Company.
The ability to use existing lithium-Ion battery production equipment will reduce the capital output cost at a time when the global economy has been affected by the current pandemic and production shortages. This will also help when you read in the announcements the following: “Stellantis plans to have more than 75 battery electric vehicles available globally by the end of the decade, a target we recently outlined in our Dare Forward 2030 plan,” said Bly. “I look forward to working with the board and executives at Factorial to help advance the company’s solid-state battery technology as part of our Joint Development Agreement.”
Factorial has stated that their solid-state battery cells hold 50% longer range due to the per charge capability. Factorial was just the start this week as more press releases came too from others.
LG Energy Solutions and Honda have formed a joint Venture for EV Battery Production in the U.S. The two companies signed a letter of intent to share the $4.4 billion cost equally to build a 40 GWh battery production site. This site aims to begin construction in early 2023 with mass production of advanced Lithium-ion cells being produced by Dec 31st, 2025.
With this LG Energy Solutions and Honda Joint Venture, Acura released a press release showing off their first EV, the Acura Precision EV Concept.
Emile Korkor, assistant vice president for Acura National Sales in North America said the following: “The Acura Precision EV Concept is a design study that will shape the direction of future Acura products in the electrified era including our first all-electric SUV in 2024,”“We are committed to delivering Precision Crafted Performance in every facet of the Acura client experience which includes a powerful and very exciting direction for the next generation of electrified Acura models.”
Toyota closes out the month of August with their own Billion-dollar press release.
In 2021 Toyota announced the $1.29 Billion investment in a battery production site in Liberty North Carolina. That has now grown with an additional $2.5 Billion investment that will bring 2,100 jobs estimated to the site that will now be Toyota's Initial HEV and BEV battery production packs. Production is expected to start by the end of 2025 supplying all of Toyota's needs for North America.
The final bit of interesting news is from a battery company and a state. The State of Kentucky which had secured twin battery production sites for FORD & SK Innovation of South Korea that is a $5.8 billion mega project that will add 5,000 jobs to the Hardin County area had multiple other small announcements of R&D and Supplier side battery companies.
Advanced Nano Products, a supplier of battery nanomaterials announced a production supply site that would create 93 jobs.
Ascend Elements Inc., a producer of advanced battery materials made from recycled lithium-ion batteries has announced a $310 million, 250 full time jobs.
In step on the last day of August, Envision Lithium-ion battery cell producer (Envision AESC (envision-aesc.com)). They will invest $2 Billion dollars and create 2,000 full time jobs.
Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne has stated that these investments in the Bluegrass State will cement the state as a leader in the emerging electric vehicle market as Kentucky will have more battery production than anyplace else at this time in the U.S. Envision AESC plant will power over 300,000 EVs annually by 2027. Envision AESC is expected to add $233 million in annual spending to the local community. All total by 2025 Kentucky is looking to add 5,000 battery related jobs and an untold number of additional jobs based on the Ford and Envision production sites in the surrounding communities.
As Kentucky focuses on becoming the U.S. core electric battery cell production, they are going to be competing heavily with other states as the U.S. will have 13 Gigafactories com online by 2025 and more shortly thereafter. Before this week's announcements, we had the following 13:
|Ford||Northeast of Memphis, TN||2025|
|Ford & SK Innovation||Central KY||2025|
|Ford & SK Innovation||Central KY||2026|
|General Motors & LG Chem||Lordstown, OH||2022|
|General Motors & LG Energy Solution||Spring Hill, TN||2023|
|General Motors & LG Energy Solution||To be determined (TBD)||TBD|
|General Motors & LG Energy Solution||TBD||TBD|
|SK Innovation||Northeast of Atlanta, GA||2022|
|SK Innovation||Northeast of Atlanta, GA||2023|
|Stellantis & LG Energy Solution||TBD||2024|
|Stellantis & Samsung SDI||TBD||2025|
|Toyota||Southeast of Greensboro, NC||2025|
We also have the latest update from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence which has released their latest report pointing to the fact that while China leads the world in battery production still, this is on the tipping point of going elsewhere as with Europe and Americas battery production coming online, the world is looking at over 6TWh or 6,000 GWh of battery production by the end of the decade. Lithium-Ion battery production has doubled from the start of 2021 to the end of 2021.
At current planned production, the world is on track to be able to produce 109 million EVs by 2030 with the current planned battery production plants.
Tesla has stated that the world needs 300 TWh of battery production to transition the world to sustainable energy via batteries for heating and transportation.
The biggest challenge is how fast raw material producers can ramp up. In 2021, the raw material producers were able to supply 480,000 Tonnes of LCE or Lithium. 6TWh of battery production will need 5 million Tonnes of Lithium.
Even investment sites are watching the rapid growth in battery production from raw materials to finished products as great areas to invest.
Automakers Are in a Race To Manufacture EV Batteries - TheStreet
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