EV Battery & Charging News: Toyota, UL, Ascend Elements, FLO, KORE Power, LG, NOVONIX & HUBER+SUHNER

In electric vehicle, battery and charging news are Toyota, UL, Ascend Elements, FLO, KORE Power, LG, NOVONIX and HUBER+SUHNER

New Toyota R&D for EV Research in Michigan

Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (Toyota) announced  that it will invest nearly $50 million to construct a new laboratory facility at its North American R&D headquarters in York Township, Mich. to evaluate batteries for electric and electrified vehicles in North America. As part of its evaluation process, the new Michigan battery lab will ensure that Toyota’s batteries meet North American customer requirements by confirming performance, quality and durability of automotive batteries made by Toyota. Operations at the new battery lab are expected to begin in 2025.

The team will also work with other North American partner suppliers to incorporate locally-produced battery parts and materials in support of Toyota’s multi-pathway approach to reducing carbon emissions through its portfolio of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell and battery electric product offerings.

Beyond battery development, other lab activities are expected to include evaluations using Level 2 and Level 3 charging as well as connectivity to power sources and infrastructure. Further, chassis dynamometers at both Toyota R&D campuses in York Township and Ann Arbor are being upgraded to accommodate full battery electric vehicle evaluations.

In addition to working with current battery production, lab engineers will explore new battery configurations for future products. Their research may also contribute to Toyota’s development of new electrified vehicle architectures. Toyota will explore further expansion of the lab’s capabilities and opportunities for supporting the needs of the battery and BEV ecosystem.

The new facility will be included in Toyota’s enrollment in DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower program. This voluntary renewable energy program enables all of Toyota’s Research and Development operations in Michigan to attribute 100% of its electricity use to renewable energy projects starting in 2026.

UL Starts NA Battery Lab

UL Solutions, a global leader in applied safety science, officially began construction of its North America Advanced Battery Laboratory in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Located near the center of the United States (U.S.) automotive industry, the facility will help enable electric vehicle (EV) and industrial battery original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers with shorter development cycles, faster time-to-market and the ability to be more competitive in the global marketplace.

UL Solutions commemorated the milestone on June 5, at the site of its future laboratory in Auburn Hills alongside federal, state and local government officials, including:

  • U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  • U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
  • Quentin Messer, Jr., chief executive and economic competitiveness officer – chair, Michigan Strategic Fund, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • David Coulter, county executive, Oakland County
  • Kevin McDaniel, mayor of the City of Auburn Hills

Ascend Elements to Supply NMC Cathode Precursor pCAM to NA

Using an innovative battery recycling process and a patented cathode engineering technology, Ascend Elements is about to become the top domestic supplier of sustainable, engineered battery materials – specifically high-nickel, NMC cathode precursor (pCAM) – to North America’s fast-growing lithium-ion battery industry.

Ascend Elements recently signed a multi-year contract to supply approximately $1 billion worth of sustainable pCAM for use in a major U.S. company’s battery manufacturing process, beginning in Q4 2024. Under the terms of the agreement, the customer has the option to expand the contract to a larger quantity with a value of up to $5 billion.

FLO Ready for NACS

FLO Chief Product Officer Nathan Yang issued the following statement in response to the announcement that multiple automakers will adopt the North America Charging Standard (NACS):

FLO is vertically integrated, which means we have great flexibility to adopt the standards that customers prefer. This, coupled with our flexible platform approach to hardware, software and network design and engineering allows us to rapidly adopt new technology and standards.

Our new stations, including the NEVI-compliant FLO Ultra fast charger are already designed to support NACS cables if requested by customers or site hosts.

We are committed to providing the best charging experience for all drivers and plan to announce an option for customers with existing stations to be able to add NACS on compatible stations.”

KORE Power Gets USDOT LPO Loan for ATVM

KORE Power, Inc. (KORE) has received a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) for a loan in the principal amount of $850 million under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program‎.

The loan will be used to fund the construction of KORE’s advanced battery cell manufacturing facility in Buckeye, Arizona‎. The KOREPlex, a 1,330,000-square-foot facility, will house multiple production ‎lines to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles (EV) and energy storage systems in the United States. The KOREPlex will produce cells using two chemistries: nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) and lithium-ion iron phosphate (LFP).

“We are focused on building a facility where American workers will build the battery cells that power our energy and mobility future,” said Lindsay Gorrill, Founder and CEO of KORE. “Domestic manufacturing will unlock the benefits of clean energy investments for U.S. workers across the supply chain.”

KORE serves utility, commercial, industrial, and e-mobility including EV manufacturers and fast-charging infrastructure companies. KORE recently announced offtake for energy storage projects in Arkansas and Illinois.

The construction of the KOREPlex, which began civil works late last year, is expected to create 700 jobs. The facility itself is expected to create 1,250 direct jobs when operating at capacity.

KORE is working with local colleges and universities in Arizona to establish training initiatives and programs for the KOREPlex workforce that will be needed to create a U.S.-made supply of batteries for EV and stationary energy storage.

With its initial lines fully operational, the KOREPlex will have an annual production capacity of 6 GWh of battery cells for customers in the e-mobility and energy storage space. KORE has the ability to further increase annual domestic production based on demand for lithium-ion batteries. The facility is expected to begin delivering product by the end of 2024 or early 2025.

LG & NOVONIX to Research Faux Graphite

LG Energy Solution (LGES), a global battery manufacturer, and NOVONIX Limited (NOVONIX), a leading battery materials and technology company, announced they signed an agreement for the joint research and development of artificial graphite anode material for lithium-ion batteries. Also, in a separate agreement, NOVONIX has agreed to issue an aggregate principal amount of US$30 million unsecured convertible notes to LGES.

Upon successful completion of certain development work under the JDA, LGES and NOVONIX will enter into a separate purchase agreement pursuant to which LGES will have the option to purchase up to 50,000 tons of artificial graphite anode material over a 10-year period from the start of mass production.

As a leading global battery manufacturer with two stand-alone and five joint venture plants currently operating or being constructed in the U.S., LGES plans to maximise the benefits from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) by expanding local battery production, as well as establishing a local supply chain for battery components. In order to solidify its market leadership in North America, LGES further aims to expedite the localisation of manufacturing and assembly of battery components, including electrodes, cells, and modules.

NOVONIX aims to provide a robust, sustainable supply chain option for high performance artificial graphite in North America, a vision which LGES supports to diversify its suppliers as it expands battery cell production. NOVONIX, with current operating sites in Chattanooga, TN, will produce IRA-compliant materials for its customers in the United States. The company was selected for a US$150 million grant by the Department of Energy to support its expansion, which demonstrates the government’s commitment to the battery supply chain sector.

Since December 2022, LGES and NOVONIX have been in informal discussions towards this financing and joint development of artificial graphite anode material that meets LGES’s specifications. The material will be developed at NOVONIX’s current Tennessee-based facilities. Then mass production is expected to start in 2026 from NOVONIX’s proposed United States-based greenfield facility.

NOVONIX’s proposed greenfield facility targets an initial 30,000 tons per annum of production capacity of active anode material. NOVONIX has applied for a loan with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Program Office under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program to aid in the financing of the facility. NOVONIX continues to pursue and hold discussions with additional original equipment manufacturers and cell manufacturers for the purchase of anode materials from its greenfield facility.

Megawatt Charging for HUBER+SUHNER

As the leading supplier of cooled cable technology for the high power charging (HPC) market with its renowned RADOX® HPC500, HUBER+SUHNER is proud to announce that it has successfully qualified its RADOX MCS1500 system in multiple field tests. The RADOX MCS1500 is designed to deliver continuous charging up to 2,250 kW (1,500 Amps) for heavy-duty electric vehicles. With this unique solution, HUBER+SUHNER is expanding its product range into megawatt charging by utilizing its scalable direct-liquid cooled technology platform, offering best-in-class performance in all conditions. In addition, HUBER+SUHNER is developing a 4,500 kW (3,000 Amps) solution to cover even higher power needs in the future.“With the development of the RADOX® MCS1500, we are once again one step ahead, establishing our leadership in the emerging megawatt charging market,” said Max Goeldi, Vice President Market Management HPC at HUBER+SUHNER. “This innovation will help to fast-charge the EV revolution.”

“By introducing the missing link between vehicle and infrastructure, we enable our customers to provide a safe, efficient and ultra-fast charging experience for heavy duty vehicles,“ added Stefan Buri, Vice President Market Management Industrials at HUBER+SUHNER.