Is traceability the solution to sustainable batteries?

Traceability and digital passports are key to ensuring EVs are as sustainable as they claim, writes Elle Farrell-Kingsley

Batteries do much more than just power electric vehicles (EVs)—they also help determine their performance, service life, charging speed and costs. Inside the batteries, there are materials to consider. There’s the anode and a cathode. Inside the cathode is typically a copper-coated film made of nickel, copper, manganese and lithium.

Special report: Electric vehicle battery materials

Nickel, primarily used to produce stainless steel, is already one of the world’s most prominent metal markets, reaching a value of US$31.5bn in 2021. Looking forward, it’s expected that the market will reach US$43.8bn by 2027, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.57% during 2022-2027, according to market researcher consultants IMARC.

Turning nickel into battery-grade material is significantly energy-intensive. There are two types of nickel: sulphites and laterites. Laterites found in nickel pig-iron require environmentally damaging chemical processes to extract the material. An enormous amount of energy and electricity is invested in refining it into something usable. According to UBS financial services, the nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) cathode formulation used by the Chevy Bolt is expected to lean heavily on nickel in the coming years. It is predicted that nickel will make up 80% of the mass in lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide (NCA) and NMC cathodes used by companies such as Tesla and Chevy.

In the last few years, EV material shortages have been a significant topic—impacting just about everybody. Tesla, Volkswagen, Toyota and General Motors have all been forced to scale back production in 2022.

Are EVs really more sustainable?

It’s time to log in (or subscribe).

Not a member? Subscribe now and let us help you understand the future of mobility.

Monthly Online Magazine
£195
1 user
12-month subscription (Annual rebill)
Access to Automotive World Magazine, our must-read monthly online publication
Mag + Articles + Special Reports
£495
1 user
12-month subscription (Annual rebill)
Access to Automotive World Magazine plus all articles and more than 40 special reports per year
All Content
Single-User License
£1,950
1 user
12-month subscription (Annual rebill)
Free tickets to Automotive World events
Unlimited online access to all content, including Automotive World magazine, articles, special reports, data and research
All Content
Team License
£3,950
Up to 5 users
12-month subscription (Annual rebill)
Free tickets to Automotive World events
Unlimited online access to all content, including Automotive World magazine, articles, special reports, data and research
All Content
Company-Wide License

Contact us for pricing

Unlimited users
12-month subscription
Free tickets to Automotive World events
Unlimited online access to all content, including Automotive World magazine, articles, special reports, data and research

Welcome back , to continue browsing the site, please click here