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India looks to lead electric vehicle race with latest push in budget

  • The finance minister announced tax rebates of up to 1.5 lakh on interest paid on loans to buy EVs
  • India, though, like China or countries in the EU, has not set a target for automakers to convert a certain part of their total vehicle production to electric or other electrified offerings

New Delhi: With a host of incentives unveiled in the Union budget for electric vehicles, India has joined governments in China and Europe that have backed the development of the nascent EV industry by offering extensive fiscal incentives and a favourable regulatory environment.

Pushing ahead with its goal to have more electric vehicles to curb rampant pollution afflicting major cities and trim costly oil imports, the government has started from 1 April 2019, the second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME 2) scheme, with an outlay of 10,000 crore. Although this sum may not be significant compared to some developed countries, the incentives announced in the budget for this sector will go a long way in restoring the confidence of investors and customers alike.

In her maiden budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharamanannounced income tax rebates of up to 1.5 lakh to customers on interest paid on loans to buy electric vehicles, with a total exemption benefit of 2.5 lakh over the entire loan period. The minister also announced customs duty exemption on lithium–ion cells, which will help lower the cost of lithium-ion batteries in India as they are not produced locally. Makers of components such as solar electric charging infrastructure and lithium storage batteries and other components will be offered investment linked income tax exemptions under Section 35 AD of the Income Tax Act, and other indirect tax benefits.

Most of these steps are similar to the one taken by the governments in China and Europe.

India, though, like China or countries in the European Union (EU), has not set a target for automakers to convert a certain part of their total vehicle production to electric or other electrified offerings. The NITI-Aayog is considering a policy proposal to ban all internal combustion engine two-wheelers under 150cc by 2025 and three-wheelers by 2023.

China, the world’s largest electric vehicle market, has already imposed restrictions on investment in new manufacturing plants for traditional vehicles and the local government has also mandated a quota for EV production for all manufacturers.

Through its New Energy Vehicle mandate, the Chinese government wants carmakers to shift a tenth of their capacity to electric, rising to 12% by 2020. It has also offered major incentives for manufacturing and lithium-ion batteries.

According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), China was home to half of the world’s electric vehicles in 2018, followed by EU countries and the US. China plans to sell 4.6 million electric vehicles by 2020, according to an article published by the World Economic Forum in December.

Japan and South Korea, too, have significantly increased incentives for electric vehicles.

While Japan plans to reduce 80% of green house gas emission from vehicles by 2050, South Korea has extended its National Subsidies to 57,000 electrified vehicles in 2019, compared to 32,000 vehicles in 2018, according to the IEA.

Despite the government incentives, India still lags behind China in setting up an EV ecosystem, according to analysts.

“In developed nations, government subsidies provide for 20-25% of the vehicle cost. Just offering tax breaks would not have much impact unless they are accompanied by non-fiscal incentives. Also, there should be a mandate that leading manufacturers should have a certain share of their sales from EVs after a particular time period,” said Puneet Gupta, associate director, vehicle sales forecasting at IHS Markit

“In major cities in developed markets such as Frankfurt and others, EVs are given free parking space and in certain parts of the cities only such eco-friendly vehicles are allowed. All we can say is that the Indian government has shown some intent from its side to develop India as a potential market for such vehicles,” he added.

EU countries are trying to evolve into a hub for developing batteries and other spare parts for electric vehicles through the Strategic Action Plan For Batteries.

The continent hosts the countries with the largest base of electric car sales. Norway, for instance, leads the electric vehicle market—EVs comprised 46% of the total vehicles sold in the country in 2018. Its figure was over 2.5 times more than the next highest country, Iceland (17.2%), and six times higher than Sweden (7.9%), which comes third in Europe.

In terms of sales volumes, Norway is followed by Germany, the UK and France, the report further notes.

The government in Norway removed import taxes on electric vehicles and cut taxes on their purchase and lease.

The Indian government’s move to reduce goods and services tax on EVs to 5% from the existing 12%—compared to the tax range of 29% to 45% on internal combustion ones—can spur demand for such vehicles here as well.

In the US, California has taken a lead over other states when it comes to legislating tough emission norms for vehicles and providing fiscal incentives for plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.

Cadence Minerals Plc (KDNC) Acquisition of Lithium Assets in Australia

Cadence Minerals (AIM/NEX: KDNC; OTC: KDNCY; “Cadence”) is pleased to announce that it has agreed to acquire three highly prospective assets in Australia that are in regions with proven high-grade lithium mineralisation. The mechanism to facilitate this acquisition is via varying binding investment agreements in place with Lithium Technologies Pty Ltd (“LT”) and Lithium Supplies Pty Ltd (“LS”) that Cadence entered on 11 December 2017 to acquire up to 100% of six prospective hard rock lithium assets in Argentina.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Varying the agreements with LT & LS delivers Cadence with the opportunity to immediately start developing three highly prospective lithium projects in Australia, while still retaining Cadence’s exposure to the six assets in Argentina.
  • The acquisition covers three projects – Picasso (Western Australia – WA), Litchfield (Northern Territories – NT) and Alcoota (NT) – that are located  in regions with proven lithium mineralisation and supportive mining infrastructure
  • The Picasso project (license granted) is near Alliance Mineral Assets’ (ASX: A40; SGX: 40F; “AMA”) high-profile Bald Hill Mine in WA (note: AMA recently completed a 50:50 A$400m+ merger with delisted Tawawa Resources [ASX: TAW] & raised $40M to develop the  asset base)
  • Demonstrating exploration upside for Picasso, the Bald Hill Mine is producing a spodumene concentrate and has a JORC (2012) compliant mineral resource of 26.5Mt @ 0.96% Li2O; probable ore reserves at 11.3Mt @ 1.01% Li2O
  • The Litchfield project (license granted), located near Darwin (NT), is contiguous to Core Lithium’s (ASX: CXO) ground and has a JORC compliant mineral resource of 8.55Mt @ 1.33% Li2O for its Finnis project (for all six deposits)
  • Finally, the Alcoota project (license to be-granted) is circa 145km NE of Alice Springs (NT) and has seen comparatively limited exploration, though significant geochemistry samples from 10km south of the project returned assays of 10.2% & 9.6% Li2O , with evidence suggesting there is a pegmatite zone within tenure prospective for lithium mineralisation

Kiran Morzaria, Chief Executive Officer, added:

“The Board is delighted with this variation agreement since it will enable the exploration team in Australia to commence work immediately on developing prime lithium assets, starting with the Picasso project in Western Australia. Alliance Mineral Assets’ recently raised AU$ 40 million to develop its lithium assets in the region, including its high-profile Bald Hill Mine, which located as it is nearby to Picasso, underlines the opportunity and potential upside for Cadence 

More importantly, this transaction is strategically beneficial as the Australian projects were acquired without any material variation to the monetary value of the acquisition agreed over the six Argentina assets. At a stroke, this delivers Cadence three additional opportunities to create incremental value for shareholders while continuing to progress the highly prospective Argentina assets.”

OVERVIEW OF NEW AUSTRALIAN LITHIUM ASSETS

A more detailed summary of the key salient points for each of the lithium assets follows:

Picasso project, WA

The Picasso project is located 50km from the city of Norseman, which connects via rail to the southern Port of Esperance. Moreover, it is circa 40km south of the newly formed Alliance Mineral Assets’ (AMA) high-profile Bald Hill Mine. This region is well known for high-grade lithium mineralisation, with the formation of AMA (via a AU$400 million merger with now delisted Tawana Resources and AU$40 million in fresh exploration funding) providing demonstratable evidence.

Picasso’s proximity to the Bald Hill Mine (which commenced producing lithium spodumene concentrate in March 2018) is a significant positive feature since it is a high-grade economically viable deposit:

Ø The JORC (2012) compliant total mineral resource is 26.5Mt @ 0.96% Li2O (255.2k contained tonnes) & 149ppm Ta2O5 (8,600lbs contained); and;

Ø Probable ore reserves of 11.3Mt @ 1.01% Li2O (114.1kt contained) & 160ppm Ta2O5 (4,000lbs contained)

Further, demonstrating the region’s potential, Liontown Resources’ (ASX: LTR) latest drilling program (15km south of Picasso) has intersected excellent lithium mineralisation at its two projects: Buldania (41m @ 1.0% Li2O and 35m @ 1.2% Li2O) and Killaloe (58m @ 1.2% Li2O).

The Picasso project’s geology is very similar to occurrences in AMA’s and Liontown Resources’ ground, both of which both have proven lithium mineralisation. Specifically, the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) has mapped granitic pegmatites (which typically host lithium-bearing minerals such as spodumene) within the tenure.

Encouragingly, based on analysing GSWA maps, there are more outcropping granite units and mapped pegmatites in the Picasso project than AMA’s ground. Furthermore, significant weathering has potentially restricted identifying many more pegmatites at the surface, which demonstrates further exploration upside.

Litchfield project, NT

The Litchfield project is close to Darwin Port and supportive mining infrastructure but in a region considered mineral rich, yet materially under-explored. Litchfield is located in the Bynoe pegmatite field, which is known to host lithium mineralisation.

A huge positive for the Litchfield project is its proximity to its, Core Lithium, which has five demonstratable spodumene lithium deposits within 1-2km of the north-west boundary. These deposits, collectively called the Finniss project, have a JORC (2012) compliant total mineral resource of 7.25Mt @ 1.41% Li2O (excludes Sandras deposit further south).

Of these, the BP33 deposit, which is over 140m deep and 20-40m wide, has produced some spectacular intersections across several drill-holes:

  • 75m @ 1.68 % Li2O including 55m @ 1.97% Li2O
  • 36m @ 1.61% Li2O including 14m @ 2.05% Li2O
  • 49m @ 1.02% Li2O

Interestingly, a closer examination of satellite imagery along the western boundary confirms the geology is comparable, highlighting the prospect of contiguous mineralisation. Notably, this shows within the Litchfield project that there is high potential for lithium pegmatite bodies to be apparent.

While negligible exploration for lithium has been undertaken in the Litchfield project (explaining a dearth of drilling & geochemical results), the exploration upside is significant given Core Lithium has produced some of the best intercepts in Australia.

Alcoota project, NT

The Alcoota project is circa 145km NE of Alice Springs but has seen limited lithium exploration. However, recent rock chip samples indicate there is strong potential to uncover high-grade spodumene mineralisation. Notably, Northern Cobalt (ASX: N27), which has several projects in the region targeting lithium mineralisation, identified a new zone of pegmatites 12km long by up to 2km wide that extends into the Alcoota project from the SE boundary. Furthermore, directly 10km south in the adjacent tenure, assay results for rock chip samples returned respective grades up to 10.2% & 9.6% Li2O.

Overall, with granites and related pegmatite-intruded schist units extending into the Alcoota project (from the south), it explains why analogous lithium mineralisation is highly likely apparent.

Priority exploration targets

The geology team have already identified priority and secondary targets for exploration within each of the projects. Further, as the Picasso and Litchfield projects are already granted, the immediate focus will be to expedite updating desktop reviews and commence field trips for surface sampling and assay, followed by a ranking of priority drilling targets.

Details of the Transactions

Cadence has agreed a variation to the agreements with LT and LS. As previously announced (click here), Cadence can acquire 100% of Lithium Technologies Pty Ltd and Lithium Supplies Pty.

The variation will result in LT & LS acquiring between them 100% of Synergy Prospecting Ltd (“Synergy”), which owns the three lithium projects in Australia. As two of Synergy’s assets are granted, Cadence has agreed to move forward with increasing is ownership in LT & LS form 4% to 31.5% via:

  • Issuing 373,544,298 million Cadence shares to the founding shareholders of LT & LS valued at £400,000 (based on 14-day VWAP of £0.0107) to acquire a further 20% stake, which is in line with the terms of the original agreements; and
  •  £300,000 to earn an incremental 7.5% stake, with the funds earmarked to commence developing Synergy’s lithium assets in Australia.

The result of the variation would mean no change to the £ consideration to be paid for of LS and LT, however additional shares would be issued as a result of the change in the share price in Cadence between November 2017 and March 2019.

The principle terms for the acquisition for up to 100% of LT and LS is now as follows.

Stage

Ownership %

Total Ownership %

Total Consideration or the Acquisition of Lithium Technologies Pty Ltd & Lithium Supplies Pty Ltd

Purpose

Status

Cash Earn In £

Share Consideration Value £

Shares

Stage 1

4%

4%

100,000

Earn-in early non-invasive exploration (pre -exploration permits being granted)

Completed

Stage 2

20%

24%

400,000

373,544,298

On grant of exploration permits – acquisition of Lithium Technologies and Lithium Supplies shares

To be completed on Cadence payment of shares

Stage 3

7.50%

31.5%

300,000

Earn – in on commencement of exploration works after grant exploration permits

To be completed on Cadence earn-in expenditure

Stage 4

17.50%

49%

700,000

Earn – In on identification of suitable drill targets

Stage 5

51%

100%

1,750,000

1,634,256,305

1-year option to acquire all the outstanding share capital of Lithium Technologies and Lithium Supplies

Total

1,100,000

2,150,000

2,007,800,603

The exploration team in Argentina continues to progress developing the assets and working with the regulator towards securing approval to scale up the exploration program, then formulate the inaugural drilling campaign.

 

– Ends –

For further information:

Cadence Minerals plc

+44 (0) 207 440 0647

Andrew Suckling

Kiran Morzaria

WH Ireland Limited (NOMAD & Broker)

+44 (0) 207 220 1666

James Joyce

James Sinclair-Ford

Hannam & Partners LLP (Joint Broker)

+44 (0) 207 907 8500

Neil Passmore

Giles Fitzpatrick

Novum Securities Limited (Joint Broker)

+44 (0) 207 399 9400

Jon Belliss

 

Qualified Person

Kiran Morzaria B.Eng. (ACSM), MBA, has reviewed and approved the information contained in this announcement. Kiran holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Industrial Geology) from the Camborne School of Mines and an MBA (Finance) from CASS Business School.

 

Forward-Looking Statements:

Certain statements in this announcement are or may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as ”believe” ”could” “should” ”envisage” ”estimate” ”intend” ”may” ”plan” ”will” or the negative of those variations or comparable expressions including references to assumptions. These forward-looking statements are not based on historical facts but rather on the Directors’ current expectations and assumptions regarding the Company’s future growth results of operations performance future capital and other expenditures (including the amount. nature and sources of funding thereof) competitive advantages business prospects and opportunities. Such forward-looking statements reflect the Directors’ current beliefs and assumptions and are based on information currently available to the Directors.  Many factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements including risks associated with vulnerability to general economic and business conditions competition environmental and other regulatory changes actions by governmental authorities the availability of capital markets reliance on key personnel uninsured and underinsured losses and other factors many of which are beyond the control of the Company. Although any forward-looking statements contained in this announcement are based upon what the Directors believe to be reasonable assumptions. The Company cannot assure investors that actual results will be consistent with such forward-looking statements.

New lithium hydroxide factory in Western Australia wins federal approval – Via the Guardian

Plant set to boost local jobs and supply growing global demand for lithium, which is used in renewable energy storage

Earthworks for a new lithium hydroxide factory in Western Australia are expected to begin this month after the $1bn project received federal environmental approval.

The plant owned by the world’s largest lithium producer, the US chemical company Albemarle, was approved by the WA government in October and is estimated to create up to 500 jobs in construction, with another 100 to 500 operational jobs once it is operational.

Australia’s trade minister, Simon Birmingham, said the plant would provide a much-needed local jobs boost and supply a growing global demand for lithium, which is used in renewable energy storage.

“This is a welcome investment and vote of confidence in our local lithium industry that will help attract further investment into the future,” Birmingham said.

Albemarle announced on Thursday that earthworks at the site at Kemerton Strategic Industrial Estate, just north of Bunbury, were on track to begin soon.

“Achieving this milestone underscores our commitment and confidence in developing LiOH [lithium hydroxide] operations and in our overall strategy to drive significant shareholder value and meet our customers’ demands,” said Eric Norris, the president of Albemarle’s lithium division.

The plant will process spodumene ore from the Greenbushes lithium mine, about 90km south of the industrial estate, and produce 60,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide annually with capacity to expand to 100,000 tonnes.

It will also produce a byproduct of up to 200,000 tonnes of sodium sulfate, and a million tonnes of tailings per annum.

The company has been ordered to identify a new breeding and foraging habitat for WA’s three threatened black cockatoo species – Carnaby’s cockatoo, Forest red-tailed cockatoo, and Baudin’s black cockatoo – to offset habitat lost by clearing the 89ha plant site, including 54ha of coastal plain vegetation that is home to a number of threatened native orchids.

The director of the Conservation Council of Western Australia, Piers Verstegen, said the environmental impacts of the project were “manageable”.

“We think on the whole it’s a positive development for the south-west and one that could provide an alternative source of employment to the coal-based jobs in Collie,” Verstegen said.

Collie, about 70km east of Bunbury, is home to four of WA’s five coal-fired power stations, fed by two open-cut coalmines.

The Albemarle plan will run on gas, but Verstegen said he hoped the company would look into running it on renewable power.

WA is the world’s largest producer of lithium, and the plant at Kemerton is the second significant lithium hydroxide manufacturing plant approved in the state since 2016.

The state established a task force aimed at promoting the lithium industry last year, and the premier, Mark McGowan, met with the directors of Albemarle on a trip to Washington DC in February.

By the Guardian

British Airways Introduces Electric Cab Service at Heathrow – Via Breaking Travel News

British Airways has introduced a brand-new electric cab service at its Heathrow home, giving customers the opportunity to experience travelling in a legendary London taxi without leaving the airport.

The London Electric Vehicle Company taxi features Wi-Fi, phone, laptop and USB charging and a panoramic roof – great for plane spotting.

In addition, customers can expect a smooth ride, air-conditioning and a spacious cabin with room for all of customers’ hand luggage.

The taxis will join British Airways’ fleet of chauffeur-driven executive vehicles, to drive premium customers at risk of missing their connecting flight to meet their next aircraft.

Customers are met by the driver at the aircraft side and are driven directly to the aircraft side of their onward flight.

With every ride completely free of charge, there’s no need for customers to reach for their wallets.

Daljit Hayre, British Airways senior manager, Heathrow Customer Experience, said: “It’s great to see the reaction of customers when they’re met by a London taxi at the side of the aircraft, waiting to take them on to their next flight.

“They’ve told us how much they appreciate this gesture, plus they love the space in the vehicle for their hand baggage.

“We’re also really pleased that using new generation electric taxi reduces our carbon footprint.”

The initiative is part of British Airways’ long-term plan to reduce emissions from all vehicles at Heathrow and follows the introduction of electric aircraft pushback vehicles.

This is British Airways’ Centenary year.

The airline is investing £6.5 billion for customers over the next five years, including new aircraft, new cabins, new catering, new lounges, Wi-Fi, and new routes.

VW and Ford forge partnership to spur low-carbon transport transition via edie.net

The rapid emergence of electric vehicles (EVs) and related autonomous driving technologies and mobility services is disrupting the global auto industry in ways that would have been unthinkable just five years ago.

Carmakers Ford and Volkswagen (VW) have forged a new low-carbon road transport partnership, which will see them work together to develop electric vehicles (EVs) and other clean technologies.

Unveiled on Tuesday (15 January), the collaborative agreement will initially see the two firms jointly develop a range of commercial vans and medium-sized pickup trucks, which will be launched across all of Ford and VW’s global markets in 2022.

Ford estimates that by collaborating on the development, manufacture and launch of these vehicles, the two companies will collectively save $500m (£387m) per year, starting in 2023.

Looking to the long-term, the agreement signed by Ford and VW also includes a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that the two companies will “investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and further EVs”. The carmakers have both started to explore opportunities in these three fields on a standalone basis.

“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” Ford’s chief executive Jim Hackett said.

“It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”

VW’s chief executive Herbert Diess echoed these sentiments, adding that the partnership would enable both companies to “harness [their] collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world”.

Both VW and Ford have stressed that the alliance will not involve any “cross-ownership” of product lines in the future. Funding made jointly will instead be funnelled into infrastructure and efficiency projects.

Charging ahead

The announcement is the latest in a string of EV-related success stories for VW Group, which last week launched a new company focusing on EV charging solutions and renewable energy offerings.

Called the Elli Group, the new venture will be headquartered in Berlin and will develop and deliver products that assist the emergence and growth of the EV market, such as energy storage devices, charging points and ‘smart’ energy management systems.

VW has additionally confirmed this month that it will invest $800m in the expansion of its manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to install EV production lines at the facility.

The first EVs to be made at the plant will be ID CROZZ SUVs, which are fully-electric and will be launched in 2022. The model is one of 20 fully-electric vehicles which VW has committed to launching by 2030 as part of its EV strategy.

Ford, meanwhile, has pledged to bring 16 new fully-electric and 24 hybrid models to market by 2025 as part of its $11bn low-carbon transport plan. Launched in 2017, the first move detailed in the plan is for Ford to bring a fully-electric SUV to market in 2020.

Volvo EV technology investment

The news also comes as the venture capital arm of Volvo Group announced it has invested an undisclosed sum in Momentum Dynamics, a start-up focused on the wireless charging for EVs.

The Philadelphia-based company specialises in developing and commercialising high power inductive charging for the automotive and transportation industries.

“Momentum Dynamics’ technology and competence within inductive bi-directional transmission of electrical energy and information safely through air, water and ice will fit the harsh conditions under which our customers operate,” said Per Adamsson, Vice President at Volvo Group Venture Capital. “High capacity charging up to 300kW for trucks, buses, construction equipment, industrial and marine applications will support the electrified transition.”

Financial details of the investment were not disclosed, although Volvo said “the transaction has no significant impact on the Volvo Group’s earnings or financial position”.

Advocates of wireless charging argue that it could streamline charging for EVs, making it easier for drivers to top up batteries opportunistically through car parks or even roads that feature embedded wireless charging systems.

 Stefan Söderling, investment director at Volvo Group Venture Capital, said the deal provided further evidence of the company’s commitment to green technologies, as well as its growing interest in co-operating with other firms working in the EV sphere.

“For Volvo Group we are strengthening our competence and knowledge of charging and electricity distribution within the ecosystem around electric transportation and energy supply,” he said. “We see partnership, cooperation and investments as the way forward in a fast-changing environment.”

Forbes: Volkswagen to Invest $800 Million To Build Electric SUVs In Tennessee

The battery-powered ID. Crozz crossover, center, is to go into production at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant starting in 2022, and the company is also bringing the ID. Buzz van, right, to the U.S.

Volkswagen has been talking up plans to shake up the global electric vehicle market for a while, and it’s now starting to make good on that ambition with an $800 million (700 million euro) project to build battery-powered crossovers in Tennessee.

The German auto giant said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday that it will build a new assembly line at its Chattanooga plant to build ID. Crozz SUVs starting in 2022, using its “MEB” modular electric vehicle system. The project will create up to 1,000 new jobs at the plant, in addition to new jobs at suppliers, Volkswagen said.

“The U.S. is one of the most important locations for us and producing electric cars in Chattanooga is a key part of our growth strategy in North America,” CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement. “Together with our ongoing investments and this increase in local production, we are strengthening the foundation for sustainable growth of the Volkswagen brand in the U.S.”

The company has worked to overhaul its U.S. image after a costly diesel emissions scandal and management turnover, deploying billions of dollars to accelerate its electric vehicle offerings and sell 1 million of them annually by 2025. Its Tennessee investment also means that state will be a battery-vehicle powerhouse, as Nissan already builds Leaf compacts there at its sprawling Smyrna plant.

“The shift toward electric vehicles is a trend that can be seen worldwide, and Volkswagen’s decision to locate its first North American EV manufacturing facility in Chattanooga underscores Tennessee’s manufacturing strength and highly-skilled workforce,” Governor Bill Haslam said in a statement. “As one of Hamilton County’s top employers, these additional 1,000 jobs will have a lasting impact on the region.”

In total, Volkswagen aims to set up eight MEB plants in the coming years in Europe and China as well as North America. In addition to building the ID. CROZZ in Chattanooga, Volkswagen said it plans to sell the ID. BUZZ minivan in North America, the 21st-century version of its of VW bus.

The carmaker starts making ID. cars at its Zwickau, Germany, plant late this year. It’s also setting up MEB lines at German facilities in Emden, Hanover and Dresden facilities and Mlada Boleslav in the Czech Republic. Electric products for China will come from Anting and Foshan plants, there Volkswagen said.

Total investment in electric vehicle technology is to reach 9 billion euros by 2023, the company said.

Volkswagen’s $800 million investment will add an MEB electric vehicle assembly line at its Chattanooga, Tennesee, plan

 

Volkswagen to spend $50 billion on electric car ‘offensive’ – via Mining.com – Cadence Minerals (KDNC)

German automaker Volkswagen said Friday it will spend tens of billions of dollars refocusing the company on the making of electric cars, autonomous vehicles and new mobility services.

The Wolfsburg-based manufacturer, which plans to have some of the new offering in the market by 2023, said the 44-billion euro ($50 billion) investment in what CEO Herbert Diess describes as an “electric offensive,” includes an imminent partnership with US carmaker Ford Motor.

Both companies are fine-tuning details on a deal to jointly make a range of light commercial vehicles, and Dess hopes the agreement will be ready before the end of the year.

Collaboration between the two firms is viewed as a path to significant savings on research and development, while at the same time delivering big revenue.

Ford makes about 40% of all full-size pickups sold in the US, while VW sells almost 15% of the vehicles purchased in China, the world’s largest auto market.

“Volkswagen must become more efficient, more productive and more profitable in order to finance the high expenditure in the future and in order to stay competitive,” Diess said during the press conference.

He noted that Volkswagen was also “seriously considering involvement in battery production.”

One million e-cars

VW has been actively promoting the electric push by creating global production capacities for the construction of 1 million electric cars. On Wednesday, it announced it was converting three of its plants in Germany to build electric cars, ramping up production of zero-local emission cars ahead of tougher European emissions standards.

The company said it would begin local production of electric-powered vehicles at its facilities in Emden and Hannover in 2022, adding that a plant in Zwickau has already been designated for e-car production.

Recent studies show carmakers will need to add electric cars to their sales lineups to meet the new European Union rules on greenhouse gas emissions from 2021. They also highlight how German carmakers need to rethink their business as the growing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is expected to cost the country’s key auto industry about 75,000 jobs by 2030, according to a report carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute of Industrial Engineering.

Those figures, the institute said,  were calculated on the assumption that by 2030, a quarter of all vehicles on Germany’s roads will be fully electric. Another 15% is expected to be hybrids, which combine an electric motor with a traditional internal combustion engine, and 60% of the cars will be powered by gasoline or diesel engines that are more fuel-efficient than today.

A more rapid adoption of electric vehicles could threaten up to 100,000 jobs, the study warned, adding that regardless of the final number, there will be suppliers that simply won’t be able to adapt their business model, especially among small- and medium-sized companies.

While relatively slow to catch onto the ongoing EV boom, German carmakers have stepped up their efforts in the wake of VW’s 2015 “diesel gate” emissions cheating scandal, which tainted the reputation of diesel cars and spurred a push towards more environmentally friendly engines.

BMW recently said raw materials needed for car batteries will grow 10-fold by 2025, adding it has been surprised by “just how quickly demand will accelerate”. BMW plans to offer 25 electrified vehicles by 2025 and, like many of its peers, it prefers nickel-manganese-cobalt batteries or NMC. EV pioneer Tesla’s favoured battery technology –nickel-cobalt-aluminum or NCA – already uses less than 3% cobalt.

Lithium Market `Problematic’ on Project Delays, Livent CEO Says – Bloomberg

Bloomberg Business – By  and 

Lithium Market `Problematic’ on Project Delays, Livent CEO Says

The lithium industry’s struggle to match booming demand for the rechargeable-battery ingredient is “problematic” and will further tighten the market, according to the only lithium pure-play trading in New York.

“It’s almost impossible for me to see a meaningful decrease” in lithium prices, Livent Corp. Chief Executive Officer Paul Graves said in a telephone interview Tuesday after the company presented quarterly earnings. “Whenever you have less supply than expected, it will create more tightness.”

Santiago-based SQM was the latest lithium producer to report a project delay as suppliers react to global demand that, according to Graves, probably will quadruple by 2025 as electric-vehicle sales accelerate.

Livent, spun off from chemicals giant FMC Corp. and listed on the New York Stock Exchange last month, is also planning to expand operations at the Hombre Muerto salt flat in Argentina. The company has all the approvals it needs to start construction there, Graves said. Livent will ramp up its first 9,500-ton-per-year expansion in the second half of 2020 and will work toward three more expansions of similar size through 2024.

Read the story on Bloomberg Business

Oil price rally boosts electric car sales – Via Oilprice.com

Article by OilPrice.com

Tesla’s competition is about to get more crowded next year with many legacy automakers and luxury brands launching a record number of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

All EV makers will have one common element that could help lift demand for battery vehicles—rising oil prices leading to fuel prices at four-year highs, which could turn consumers towards EVs.

To be sure, charging infrastructure and range are still key concerns in consumers’ minds regarding EVs, but utilities and major oil firms such as Shell and BP are already looking to expand the charging infrastructure, especially in Europe.

Battery pack prices have been dropping constantly this decade and are expected to continue to fall. In terms of cost comparison, some estimates point to battery pack costs becoming competitive with the internal combustion engine (ICE) cars by 2027.

Rallying oil prices, with Brent Crude topping $85 a barrel this week, come just as the number of global offerings of EVs next year is expected to rise by 20 percent to 216 models, research by Bloomberg NEF shows.

“The higher the price of oil the more tailwind we’re going to have behind electric cars,” Bloomberg quoted Carlos Ghosn, chairman of Renault and Nissan Motor, as saying at the Paris Motor Show this week.

Next year, Nissan will launch the sale of a longer-range model of its best-selling EV Leaf.

German carmakers are also jumping into the EV competition.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled last month its first all-electric model Mercedes-Benz EQC, which will be launched on the market in 2019. BMW is teasing the premiere of a new concept EV, BMW Vision iNEXT. Audi has started mass production of the Audi e-tron, the brand’s first all-electric SUV, and deliveries are scheduled to begin in the spring of 2019.

Ultra-luxury brands will also be offering electric vehicles. Aston Martin is building Rapide E with a target range of over 200 miles and projected top speed of 155 mph, with customer deliveries set for Q4 2019. Porsche is working on its first purely electric series, Taycan, and plans to invest more than US$6.9 billion (6 billion euro) in electromobility by 2022, doubling its initially planned expenditure.

While almost every carmaker out there is unveiling or planning EV models, gasoline prices are up and even after the end of the U.S. driving season, the national gas price average as of October 1 was $2.88 – a pump price not seen since mid-July.

“The last quarter of the year has kicked off with gas prices that feel more like summer than fall,” AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano said.

“This time of year, motorists are accustomed to seeing prices drop steadily, but due to continued global supply and demand concerns as well as very expensive summertime crude oil prices, motorists are not seeing relief at the pump.”

High fuel prices could be part of consumers’ motivation to buy more EVs.

Global cumulative EV sales are already 4 million, according to Bloomberg NEF, which notes that the time for reaching each of the million sales has been rapidly shrinking. The first million in sales, reached in Q4 2015, took around 60 months to achieve; the second million came in 17 months; the third million took 10 months; and the fourth million needed just six months. Bloomberg NEF expects the next million EVs to take just over 6 months and the five-millionth EV to be sold in March next year.

The EV share of the global car fleet is still minuscule, considering that the world’s stock of cars is 1.2 billion units. But battery costs and range are less and less the stumbling blocks in EV adoption, according to Wood Mackenzie. Battery is one third of the cost of an EV today. Yet, costs have already declined by 80 percent this decade and will fall further. Battery pack prices will drop below US$200/kWh this year and then fall by around 10 percent each year, WoodMac said in July.

“The critical threshold is US$100/kWh – that’s when EVs will compete on commercial terms with ICE vehicles. We think we’ll get there by 2027,” WoodMac says.

EVs will displace around 5 million bpd to 6 million bpd of oil demand by 2040—some 5 percent of total oil demand, the consultancy has estimated.

ICE cars are not going anywhere in the next decade or two, but the higher the price of oil, the more competition they’ll have from EVs and the more incentives consumers will get to pick an EV for their next new car.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

Stockhead – Next year will be huge for electric car launches as Europeans race to catch up – Cadence Minerals (KDNC)

Next year will mark the start of a huge EV ramp-up for the world’s biggest carmakers — and that’s expected to have a serious impact on  demand for key battery metals such as lithium, cobalt, manganese, HPA and nickel.

Euro car-makers have a lot of ground to make up on EV leaders Tesla, Nissan and Chinese manufacturers – who continue to break production and sales records every month.

Tesla sold an estimated 22,250 Model 3s in September in the US alone according to this report — the highest ever for sales of a single plug-in electric car in a month, and the first time an EV has beaten 20,000 sales a month in the US market.

French-owned PSA Group — which sells the Peugeot, Citreon, DS, Opel and Vauxhall brands —   is undergoing an self-described “electrification blitz” from next year, as it aims for 100 per cent EV core models by 2025.

This is a company that made net profit of about $2.4 billion on car sale revenues of $50 billion in the first half of 2018.

Its Peugeot and Citreon brands showed off fully EV and hybrid versions of its popular models — due for rollout next year — at the Paris Motor Show last week.

It also unveiled its beautiful, fully electric concept Peugeot e-Legend car.

In response to a change.org petition to get the e-Legend into production, Peugeot boss Jean-Phillipe Imparato says:

Germany’s Volkswagen Group estimates it will sell 3 million EVs in 2025.

Of that, its I.D. models – which starts production next year – are expected to contribute 1 million of those sales.

Audi, also part of the Volkswagen Group has started production of its e-tron EV ahead of full production in 2019; it’s expected to produce about 20,000 a year.

And the first Mercedes-Benz vehicle under the fully electric EQ brand will be launched by mid-2019 – part of a range that is expected to expand to include 10 new models by 2022.

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