Friday, 28 September 2018

Volkswagen details the foundation for 10 million electric vehicles

Volkswagen MEB platform architecture
Volkswagen is aiming for affordability, so it doesn’t want to pack every model with the maximum range. The automaker referred to base battery packs of, tentatively, 48 kwh and 62 kwh and said that we should expect a range of 175 to 300 miles in the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). Although there’s no lock-step conversion to EPA range—they’re different driving cycles—that likely means a range comparable to the current Nissan Leaf’s 151 miles, up to (or perhaps better than) the 258 miles of rated range for the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric. It’s likely that doesn’t include the extended 82-kwh pack that could arrive a bit later or be limited to a few flagship models.
Rear-wheel drive, 50/50 weight distribution. The MEB vehicles, at the base level, will offer rear-wheel drive only and a near-equal weight distribution front to rear—two traits European sport sedans have long boasted of. All-wheel drive, via an additional front motor, will be available.

Two different kinds of motors. Every MEB vehicle will have a DC permanent magnet motor, mounted within a modular rear axle assembly, and chosen for its combination of performance and cost-effectiveness. But dual-motor models with all-wheel drive will have what officials confirmed is the same motor design as what goes into the Audi e-tron—a current-excited synchronous motor that VW’s sibling luxury brand chose because of its strong recuperation (brake regen) potential and lack of rare-earth elements.
Two gear ratios. It’s almost certain there will be multiple power levels offered across these different electric models. But to accommodate performance versions there will be two different reduction ratios used for the rear motor.
Liquid cooling. Component cooling and heating will be split into two circuits: a high-temperature one for the motors, and a lower-temp one for the battery and power electronics. All models will have resistive heating for the cabin, while a heat-pump system will be available and could help heat or cool components.

VW is extremely vague about the performance of the MEB vehicles. For instance, in a release it points out that the ID prototype can get to 62 mph in less than eight seconds, with a top speed of 99 mph. But then it says: “Electric drive motors offering either more or less power may be considered for the 2020 series version.” One thing we will see, officials confirmed, is an approach that offers multiple performance levels.

The MEB models ride on a completely new end-to-end architecture, called E3, and may be the first in the VW Group to get over-the-air updates that can tweak performance traits. Upgrades via the cloud will affect both “performance and technical desirability” through the vehicle’s life cycle, according to VW. Three new core processors are also part of the platform. Called ICAS1, ICAS2, and ICAS3, these are dedicated to vehicle sensors, HMI, and safety systems, respectively.
Familiar exterior sizes, more interior space. Compared to existing platforms that accommodate internal combustion engines, VW says that MEB offers more passenger space and a somewhat higher seating position, with less front and rear overhang, no drive tunnels, and more space for passengers and cargo. The MQB platform, which underpins everything from the Golf to the Tiguan, was used as a starting point, and many of the critical dimensions aren’t far off—yet Volkswagen has carried over next to nothing.

Warren Buffett Has Made a Killing Off China's Biggest Electric Car Maker


How has the king of buy-and-hold investment fared in China? Not bad, based on a bet Warren Buffett made a decade ago.
On Sept. 26, 2008, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK-B) agreed to buy what is now equivalent to 24.59% of BYD Co.’s Hong Kong-traded stock. Those shares in what is now China’s biggest maker of alternative-energy vehicles have soared more than 500% since then, turning a $232 million investment into a stake worth roughly $1.6 billion at current prices. Berkshire shares have rallied just 146% in the same 10-year period as of Tuesday’s close.
Buffett’s bet — made two years before Tesla Inc. (TSLA, -14.68%) listed and way ahead of the auto industry’s shift toward electric cars — has turned BYD (BYDDY, +1.61%) into the billionaire investor’s most-valuable holding in a publicly traded company based outside the U.S. The Chinese firm has weathered sharp swings in its share price and transformed itself from a maker of cell-phone batteries into a manufacturer of cars and monorails as China’s transport needs evolved.
“BYD has recorded rapid growth over the past decade,” the Shenzhen-based company said in a statement. “Mr. Warren Buffett’s unparalleled personal charm and practical action have provided strong support for BYD’s development.”
The gain made by BYD in the past decade is the fourth-largest in dollar terms among the 27 companies in the Bloomberg World Auto Manufacturers Index, behind China’s Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., Tesla and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.
And BYD isn’t Buffett’s largest windfall from China, where he is revered for his investment skill and has been dubbed the “God of Stocks” by state media. Berkshire made a profit of about $3.5 billion in 2007 from divesting its shares in PetroChina Co., having first disclosed investments in the energy producer of $488 million in 2003.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

How to shop for an electric car


Shopping for an EV also means rethinking your approach to refueling and how far the car can travel between charges. And you'll need to learn about charging, electric rate plans, and EV incentives and rebates. It's manageable, though. You'll find online resources from carmakers, utility companies, EV owner forums, government agencies and EV advocates such as Plug In America.
PLAN FOR CHARGING
Most EV owners charge at home. To power up faster, invest in 240-volt, Level 2 electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).
Dealerships can set you up with both the EVSE and installation, or you can shop online and possibly get a better deal. An average cost for the system and professional installation is about $1,750, but it varies by region as well as the specific location of your electrical panel. This figure doesn't include the cost of any permits or upgrades that your electric service might need. Get estimates of these costs before you finalize your car deal. A good source for home charger information is GoElectricDrive.org.
Visit your utility company's website to see what charging plan will work best for you. Utilities in areas that are popular for EVs have plans that make charging affordable.
RETHINK RANGE
Conventional wisdom says that EVs are impractical if they don't deliver the range of a conventional car. The figure that's often cited is 300 miles.
But that's gas-car logic, says Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing for Edmunds and an EV owner. Let's assume this is your second car, as is most often the case. If you plug in overnight with a Level 2 home charger, all you need is a car capable of meeting your daily driving needs. More range requires bigger batteries, and they raise the price of the car significantly.
Here are some affordable EVs that deliver 100 miles or more on a charge (prices include destination fees): the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt (238 miles, $37,495); the 2018 Nissan Leaf (151 miles, $30,875); the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Electric (124 miles, $30,385); and the 2018 Kia Soul EV (111 miles, $33,145).
EV-FOCUSED TEST DRIVES
When you have your short list of cars, make appointments at dealerships for back-to-back test drives. Here are some specific things to note:
— An EV is inherently quieter than a gasoline-powered car because its electric motor is dramatically quieter than an engine. But you should still observe how quiet the car is on the highway. Cut the conversation, keep the windows up, and turn off the radio.
— Take time to review the car displays that let you monitor the battery, charging and energy usage. They can help you maximize range. Also inquire about smartphone apps that let you check on your vehicle's charging status.
— Get a feel for regenerative braking, which can slow the car significantly as soon as you lift off the accelerator pedal. Most EVs have driver-adjustable levels of regenerative braking, so it might be worth checking your test car to find out which mode it's in.
CHECK OUT INCENTIVES AND TAX CREDITS
While there are lots of incentives and rebates for EV buyers, the federal EV tax credit of up to $7,500 gets the most attention.
This credit, however, begins to phase out after manufacturers sell 200,000 qualifying EVs. Tesla hit its 200,000 mark in July, so you would have to take delivery of a Tesla vehicle by December to be eligible for the full credit. GM is expected to sell its 200,000th qualifying car early next year, so Chevrolet Bolt buyers should be poised to act soon, too.
Remember that the federal credit is not a discount or rebate. You have to qualify for a car loan and make payments based on the full amount, then file for the credit on your return.
CONSIDER LEASING
A way to avoid the tax-credit hassle is to lease the EV. When you do that, the dealer takes the tax credit and applies the savings to your deal.
Leasing also shields you from the tendency of electric vehicles to lose more value than conventional cars. Some of the factors depressing EV prices include heavy new-vehicle incentives, low demand and the rapid pace of technological advancements, making new models more attractive.
Edmunds says: EVs are steadily becoming more amenable to everyday use. But it's still vital to study up before you buy or lease one.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

1,000 buyers in Norway reserve coming all-electric BMW iX3 crossover SUV

BMW Concept iX3
BMW opened order books for its upcoming electric iX3 in Europe at the beginning of September, and the company already has deposits for 1,000 in Norway.
In a page out of the Tesla playbook, the Norwegian buyers each put down deposits of almost $1,900 (1,600 Euros.

BMW introduced the iX3 concept at the Beijing auto show in April, but has not yet shown a production version. The iX3 will be built in China and exported around the world.
Unlike the BMW Vision iNext concept the company previewed in New York last week, the iX3 is based on an existing gas-powered X3 SUV.
The electric SUV will use a 70-kwh lithium battery mounted under the floor to give the iX3 an estimated range of 249 miles, based on the new European WLTP test cycle. That number may be smaller on the more stringent EPA test cycle in the U.S. when it arrives next year.

It will incorporate 150-kw DC fast-charge capability that BMW says will recharge about 192 miles in 30 minutes. The electric motor will put out 270 horsepower.
BMW has not announced whether the electric version of the X3 will have all-wheel drive.
The iX3 will be the first electric car under a new strategy from BMW that bases electric cars on existing, steel-bodied models, rather than developing dedicated, lightweight carbon-fiber chassis for its electric models as it did for the i3 and the i8.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Volkswagen's Porsche drops diesel in electric car push



Volkswagen has admitted to deliberately cheating diesel emissions tests, sending shockwaves through the automotive industries and causing a sector-wide crackdown on polluting diesel engines.
As a result, carmakers around the world have ramped up spending on the development of electric cars, hoping to catch up with pioneer Tesla TLSA.O.
“Porsche is not demonizing diesel. It is, and will remain, an important propulsion technology,” Porsche Chief Executive Oliver Blume said in a statement.
“We as a sports car manufacturer, however, for whom diesel has always played a secondary role, have come to the conclusion that we would like our future to be diesel-free.”
Porsche’s existing diesel customers would continue to be served, he said.
Porsche, which is investing more than 6 billion euros ($7.1 billion) in electric mobility by 2022, said that demand for diesel models was dropping, adding their share of worldwide Porsche cars was 12 percent in 2017.
“We have never developed and produced diesel engines ourselves. Still, Porsche’s image has suffered. The diesel crisis has caused us a lot of trouble,” Blume said in a separate interview with weekly Bild am Sonntag.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold a meeting on Sunday to discuss whether to require the car industry to carry out costly hardware upgrades for older diesel vehicles to reduce inner-city pollution, government sources said.
Porsche has sold diesel versions of its cars for nearly a decade. It has not had a diesel in its line up since February. Next year, it will launch the Taycan, which it says is its first fully-electric sports car.
According to Bild am Sonntag, Porsche is suspected of manipulating engines to improve their sound on the road at the expense of higher emissions, adding this function was not active in a testing environment.
Asked about this, Blume said: “In the individual case of the 8-cylinder Cayenne EU5, the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has declared an engine charge control as not being in line with the law. This was about nitrogen oxide, not CO2.”
Blume said that Porsche was owning up to the issue, adding it affected about 13,500 diesel vehicles and that the carmaker was also examining petrol cars as a precautionary measure.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Former GM Exec Predicts Doom For Electric Car Company

GettyImages-968584408

top auto industry executive expressed doubts about the future of Tesla, Inc. (TSLA ). Bob Lutz, who held high-level positions at Ford, Chrysler, BMW and General Motors, told CNBC’s “Closing Bell” program that Tesla may not ever achieve profitability.
After months of controversy surrounding the electric car manufacturer, for reasons that both did and did not involve the manufacturing of electric cars, Tesla has drawn different forms of criticism which has caused its price of shares to fluctuate. Lutz questioned the company’s ability to produce its flagship Model 3 car at a high enough rate.
“[Tesla CEO Elon Musk]'s got 9,000 people in that assembly plant producing less than 150,000 cars a year. The whole thing just doesn't compute,” Lutz told CNBC. "It's an automobile company that is headed for the graveyard."
Production woes have dogged the Model 3 for some time. Tesla had to construct what is essentially a large tent outside its Fremont, California, plant to house an assembly line so the company could meet its goals. The company has shown increased confidence in its production process in recent months, opening up Model 3 deliveries to the general public and even offering expedited delivery for some customers.
The company is also facing a federal investigation stemming from Musk’s infamous take-private tweets, as well as a new line of competition. More established automakers like Audi and Mercedes have recently announced fully electric vehicles that could tap into Tesla’s corner of the market.
Lutz noted that those other manufacturers have solid enough footing in the traditional car market to handle whatever losses come with electric cars, an advantage over Tesla. He went as far as to say Tesla had “no advantages” whatsoever over those other companies.
Tesla did not immediately respond to an International Business Times inquiry into Lutz’s remarks, or the other recent controversies surrounding the company.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Audi holds E-Tron party as it takes aim at Tesla

Audi Takes Aim At Tesla With New Electric Car

Audi unveiled the E-Tron, a battery-powered crossover that's due to hit showrooms later this year, during a big Monday night bash in Tesla Inc.'s backyard. Mercedes-Benz revealed its own electric crossover earlier this month, and BMW showed off another Tesla-fighting concept model on Sunday.
Though headlines deem every new electric offering a "Tesla Killer" and automakers around the world have been coveting Tesla's stock valuation and clean-car reputation for years, the series of events shows Elon Musk's company is on the verge of seeing more serious competition from the leaders in automotive luxury.
Audi's first fully electric auto will be made in Brussels and will arrive in the U.S. during the second quarter of 2019, the company said in an emailed statement. The five-seater starts at $74,800 and will qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit. Audi unveiled the E-Tron at the site of an old Ford plant in Richmond, California, across the bay from San Francisco and roughly 35 miles north of Tesla's sole auto assembly plant in Fremont.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Saudi sovereign fund invests $1B in US electric car firm


Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund invested over $1 billion Monday in an American electric car manufacturer just weeks after Tesla CEO Elon Musk earlier claimed the kingdom would help his own firm go private.
Tesla stock dropped briefly Monday in reaction to the news, the same day that the Saudi fund announced it had taken its first loan, an $11 billion borrowing from global banks as it tries to expand its investments. It wasn't immediately clear if that loan money played a part in the electric-car investment.
The electric-car investment is a bold move for Saudi Arabia, an ultraconservative kingdom that for decades has relied on its oil wealth as the world's top crude exporter. But previous splashy market-moving promises by the kingdom's assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have yet to materialize.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund said it would invest the over $1 billion in Newark, California-based Lucid Motors, an 11-year-old private company that has yet to bring a vehicle to market.
The investment "will provide the necessary funding to commercially launch Lucid's first electric vehicle, the Lucid Air, in 2020," the sovereign wealth fund said in a statement. "The company plans to use the funding to complete engineering development and testing of the Lucid Air, construct its factory in Arizona, enter production for the Lucid Air to begin the global rollout of the company's retail strategy starting in North America."
Lucid issued a statement quoting Peter Rawlinson, its chief technology officer, welcoming the investment.
"At Lucid, we will demonstrate the full potential of the electric-connected vehicle in order to push the industry forward," said Rawlinson, who worked as the lead engineer of the Tesla Model S before joining Lucid.
The over $1 billion investment easily dwarfs prior funding for the manufacturer and puts Saudi Arabia clearly in the firm's driver seat. Three previous venture funding rounds have netted Lucid Motors some $131 million, according to the business information website crunchbase.com.
The firm's all-electric Lucid Air will have a range of over 400 miles (640 kilometers). The company already is taking deposits for the vehicle, which they've priced at $52,500.
Lucid plans to make the Air at a factory it's building in Casa Grande, Arizona. The company wants to make up to 130,000 vehicles per year by 2022.
The Saudi announcement comes after Musk on Aug. 7 tweeted that he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private. Investors pushed Tesla's shares up 11 percent in a day, boosting its valuation by $6 billion.
There are multiple reports that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the disclosure, including asking board members what they knew about Musk's plans. Experts say regulators likely are investigating if Musk was truthful in the tweet about having the financing set for the deal. Musk later said the Saudi Public Investment Fund would be investing in the firm, something Saudi officials never commented on. Musk on Aug. 24 said Tesla would remain publicly traded.
On Monday, Tesla stock fell as much as 2 percent before rebounding. The Financial Times newspaper previously reported that the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, known by the acronym PIF, had secured a near 5-percent stake in Tesla recently.
Meanwhile Monday, the PIF said it had taken its first loan, an $11 billion borrowing. It did not say how it would use the money, only describing it as going toward "general corporate purposes."
The Las Vegas-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute estimates the Saudi fund has holdings of $250 billion. Those include a $3.5 billion stake in the ride-sharing app Uber. The $11 billion loan allows it to make further investments without divesting from its other holdings.
Saudi Arabia's 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose father is King Salman, has talked about using the PIF to help diversify the economy of the kingdom, which relies almost entirely on money made from its oil sales.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

BMW unveils its vision for a self-driving electric car

BMW has unveiled its vision for a self-driving electric crossover SUV and, if it actually ends up being a lot like the concept version, it should be a pretty cozy place to hang out.
The BMW Vision iNext is a concept vehicle for now. But BMW executives said they plan to put something like it into production in 2021.
The car was unveiled inside the belly of a cargo plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Inside, BMW’s executives displayed working versions of some of the technologies being considered for the car, including touch sensitive fabrics and interactive projections. As with any concept vehicle, it’s not yet clear which aspects or capabilities will actually be in the production version.
The front end of the Vision iNext features a new version of BMW’s trademark “kidney” grill, which features two rounded rectangles. In the Vision iNext, the rectangular shapes are connected by a broad center section, creating something like a massive letter H. This grill is largely cosmetic, however, since a large radiator isn’t needed on a fully electric car. A major reason for this center section is to cover the front-mounted cameras and sensors that enable the car’s self-driving capabilities.
The interior of the car has a deliberately crafted room-like ambience. The seats, walls and even the dashboard are covered in richly textured fabrics. Instead of the usual center console between the front seats there is a table-like structure with a metal base and an inlaid wooden top.
BMW engineers are working on technologies that would allow the wood surface of the table to be used like a touch pad. This is similar to the way, in BMW cars now, drivers can write letters with their fingers on top of a large plastic control knob. Occupants of the iNext may also be able to write letters and shapes with their fingers on the car’s seat fabrics.
BMW executives also showed off a projection technology that allows a user to hold a light cardboard sheet in their lap to use as a sort of tablet computer. Images, which the user can interact with, are projected from above onto the sheet which can even be moved around as it used. The projection beam follows the pad so that it never slips off the page.
One prevailing theme in the design of the Vision iNext is that technology should be, as much as possible, invisible until needed. (BMW calls it “Shy-tech.”) That helps the inside of the car be as comfortable and relaxing as possible. When the car is in self-driving mode, the steering wheel draws away from the driver and the brake and accelerator pedal retract into the floor. The front seat headrests also fold back so occupants can more easily see and speak with one another.
BMW has said it plans to design and engineer future models so they can all be produced with a choice of internal combustion, electric or hybrid power. That will allow the company to easily shift production of new cars to suit consumer and regulatory demands as they shift.
The Vision iNext was revealed to journalists at four different airports — in Munich, New York, San Francisco and Beijing — over the course of five days earlier this week. The vehicle was packed into an exhibition space inside a Lufthansa Cargo jet that flew to each of the cities in succession. Journalists were invited on board the plane to see the car and speak with company officials.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

New Technologies May Turn Arkansas Into a Lithium Superpower


Electric vehicle (EV) sales will surge to 1.6 million units worldwide this year, from a few hundred thousand in 2014, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The growing popularity of EVs has had an effect across the entire automotive industry: German automaker Audi unveiled a new electric supercar at the Pebble Beach Automotive Week this summer, and new manufacturers are expected to enter the market as well.
Home vacuum manufacturer Dyson has revealed intentions to create an electric vehicle, investing £200 million in a test facility in Hullavington, Wiltshire, England. The test facility will be where Dyson develops its first electric vehicle, which the company has invested £2 billion towards so far. Dyson has partnered with lithium-ion battery producer Sakti3, a firm that claims to have developed a solid-state lithium-ion battery that produces over 400 Wh/kg energy density. Tesla's Panasonic batteries are considered the industry leader at only 240Wh/kg.
If consumers transition to EVs faster than expected, the scene could be set for a lithium supply crunch as manufacturers seek the raw materials needed in lithium-ion batteries used by the automotive industry. A Tesla Model S battery pack utilizes 63 kilograms of lithium, an amount that eclipses the amount of lithium currently used in mobile phones and iPads. That requires building a new supply chain several times larger than the existing one.
Arkansas is not renowned for its role in new technologies. The state has a mature oil and gas industry and is one of the world's largest suppliers of bromine, a chemical used as a flame retardant. The bromine, extracted from wells deep underground, is rich in lithium.
The Smackover Formation in Arkansas could hold 1 million metric tons of lithium reserves or about a third of the reserves of the massive Atacama Salt Lake in Chile. Albemarle and SQM operate two of the world's three largest lithium extraction sites in the Atacama.
None of the chemical producers operating in Arkansas have figured out how to separate this massive resource from the brine. Albemarle owns a major bromine plant in Arkansas and is conducting its own experiments to find a breakthrough. Lanxess AG and TETRA Technologies, Inc., two other chemical producers based in the region, recently signed agreements with Standard Lithium to pursue the commercial opportunity of producing lithium battery materials from this strategic resource.
Track Record in Lithium Extraction
Standard Lithium's management team, led by Chief Executive Officer Robert Mintak, has a track record in lithium extraction. At Canada's Pure Energy Minerals, Mintak oversaw the development of a disruptive extraction process, leading to a surge in the company's share price.
Chief Operating Officer Andy Robinson, who holds a doctorate in geochemistry, has overseen resource development projects around the world. With his team of global experts, Standard Lithium has developed a new rapid lithium extraction process that better extracts the material from a variety of brine sources. The company recently hired Prof. Barry Sharpless, a Nobel Laureate in chemistry, to the company's Scientific Advisory Council.
Mintak and his team are betting on being able to leapfrog competitors in the lithium supply space by avoiding several of the lengthy and time-consuming phases of developing a greenfield lithium operation. A traditional brine project such as those operated by Albemarle and SQM in Chile requires several phases including resource assessment, permitting, earth-moving and process-testing. Other lithium projects in Argentina have shown lengthy development timelines, which can take up to a decade or more to come online.
By working with permitted chemical producers such as Lanxess and Tetra, which already extract raw material feedstock (brine) from the ground, Standard Lithium can leverage existing infrastructure to eliminate most of the steps toward commercial production. Quick project execution will be key if the EV transformation happens faster than expected.
Only about 2% of global lithium supplies are sourced from North America, according to SQM. Domestic providers may stand to benefit after President Donald Trump initiated a federal strategy to supply critical minerals from within the United States. Lithium is one of a handful of critical minerals that are deemed to be of high importance to the industries of the twenty-first century under the U.S. government strategy.
Tesla is particularly dependent on lithium supplies and has held talks with SQM to sign a long-term supply agreement for a giant lithium-ion battery factory known as the Gigafactory that it is building in Nevada. General Motors is introducing at least 20 EV models by 2023, including the Chevrolet Bolt and Cadillac CT6 Plug-in, CEO Mary Barra said in March.
Drop in Valuations Increases Opportunity
Lithium stocks tumbled this year after investment bank Morgan Stanley said supply from new projects will exceed demand before 2021. That investment advice might not fully reflect the fact that consumers are switching to EVs from internal combustion engines (ICEs) faster than expected, according to London-based analysts Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.  
Some major Asian battery makers appear to be taking full advantage of the recent drop in lithium company valuations. POSCO, South Korea's biggest steelmaker and producer of car batteries, bought the lithium mining rights of Australia's Galaxy Resources Ltd. for $280 million in a deal announced Aug. 27. The acquisition appeared to take advantage of a temporary drop in valuations. POSCO, which supplies Korean carmakers such as Kia Motors, said it would build a lithium plant in Argentina and supply 25,000 tons a year from the Salar del Hombre Muerto project in the South American country. China's Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd. also purchased SQM's stake in an Argentine lithium project in late August.  
Several countries, including China, are mandating shifts from ICE production to EV production, a step that will rapidly accelerate the demand for lithium-ion batteries, according to London-based consultancy Roskill. With government mandates accelerating demand for lithium, supply won't keep up with need. This could ultimately lead to major lithium buyers looking to back an emerging producer with a large resource such as Standard Lithium.
Other Actors in the Lithium Space  
Albemarle ALB, +0.29% is the world's largest lithium producer, producing the material from rock mines in Australia and from brine operations in Chile. Albemarle also produces bromine in Arkansas and is experimenting with chemical processes to separate the lithium found in its raw material feedstock. The company is looking to expand its current lithium production capacity to 265,000 tons a year, from 65,000 tons a year at present.
Nemaska Lithium (NMX) NMKEF, -1.16% is developing a plant to produce car battery-grade lithium hydroxide and recently signed a take-or-pay 5-year supply agreement with Northvolt, a company that is building Europe's largest battery factory. Nemaska Lithium recently obtained a $75 million payment as part of a multi-stage loan to finance its Whabouchi mine.
Sociedad Quimica y Minera S.A. SQM, +0.86% based in Santiago, Chile was traditionally the world's largest lithium producer until it was overtaken by Albemarle in recent years. Sociedad Quimica y Minera S.A. recently secured an agreement with the Chilean government to carry out a major expansion of its lithium brine operation in the Atacama Desert.
Tesla , Inc. TSLA, +1.98% is rapidly expanding output of its Model S and is having a wider disruptive effect on the global automotive market as traditional carmakers switch to electric vehicles from the internal combustion engine. Tesla is building a lithium-ion battery factory in Nevada and is currently seeking a long-term supply agreement with Chile.
For more information on Standard Lithium Ltd, please visit:

Friday, 14 September 2018

NIO Jumps 76% on Electric-Car Maker's Second Day of U.S. Trading

Chinese electric-vehicle maker NIO Inc. closed up 76 percent on its second day of trading after its $1 billion U.S. initial public offering.
After pricing near the bottom its target range at $6.26 and a bumpy first day of trading on Wednesday, the shares rose as much as 92 percent Thursday before closing at $11.60 in New York trading. The company is backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd.
In an interview Wednesday, NIO Chief Financial Officer Louis Hsieh attributed the low initial price to bad timing, saying losses in Asian markets had made domestic investors “too jittery.”
NIO, now with a market value of almost $12 billion, is testing investor appetite for electric-car makers vying to become a Chinese answer to Tesla Inc. after government incentives have helped the country become the world’s biggest market for clean-energy vehicles. The stock may also be a bellwether for a clutch of Chinese startups such as Byton and Xpeng Motors Technology Ltd., which aim to join established automakers such as BMW AGVolkswagen AGand Nissan Motor Co. in convincing customers to switch to battery-powered autos.
The offering was led by banks including Morgan StanleyGoldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., which have an option to buy 24 million additional shares to cover over-allotments.