Electric Vehicles

Volvo implementing blockchain to help trace lifespan of cobalt used in batteries

Volvo has announced plans to use blockchain to help trace the life path of the cobalt it uses in its electrified vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Cars

Cobalt production is on the rise to support the growing needs of the automotive industry as automakers set electrified vehicle adoption targets worldwide. The calls for the adoption of sustainable business practices are growing larger as well, with Volvo announcing last week that it will lower its carbon footprint by 40 percent.

Volvo Cars will become the first automaker to implement global traceability of cobalt used in its batteries by applying blockchain technology. The technology will allow for transparency when it comes to sharing reliable data on the supply chain of the materials that cannot be simply altered undetected for profit.

"We have always been committed to an ethical supply chain for our raw materials," said Martina Buchhauser, head of procurement at Volvo Cars. "With blockchain technology we can take the next step towards ensuring full traceability of our supply chain and minimising any related risks, in close collaboration with our suppliers."

The Swedish automaker gets its batteries from CATL of China and LG Chem of South Korea, who have also agreed to be part of this tracking program when it kicks off later this year.

Technology firms Circulor and Oracle will operate the blockchain technology in CATL's supply chain following successful testing during a pilot program over the summer. The Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network, RCS Global, and IBM are rolling out the technology in LG Chem's supply chain.

In the case of cobalt, blockchain will record the material's origin, attributes including weight and size, chain of custody, and supplier behavior.

The agreements regarding blockchain technology between Volvo Cars, CATL, and LG Chem cover the supply of batteries over the coming decade for next generation Volvo and Polestar models.

What is blockchain? A blockchain is a digital ledger that includes records linked to each other via cryptography. When used in the constrains of supply chains, the technology is used to create records of transactions which cannot be altered. It also sets a standard for what data can be recorded. Blockchain allows participants to verify and audit transactions independently.

Trending News

 
 

General Motors is hoping to recycling as leftovers from the battery making process. This is the battery in the 2023 GMC Hummer EV Edition 1.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

General Motors and LG Energy Solution have formed Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture centered around the production of batteries for future GM vehicles. That company has entered into an agreement with Li-Cycle to recycle up to 100 percent of the material scrap from battery cell manufacturing.

The partnership will allow Ultium Cells to recycle battery materials (cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese, and aluminum). A press release from the company says that it expects 95 percent of those recycled materials to be used in future battery products or in adjacent industries.

"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain," said Ajay Kochhar, Li-Cycle's president and CEO and co-founder. "This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining."

GM approach to battery materials Photo courtesy of General Motors

This effort plays into the common concerns surrounding battery manufacturing from mining of raw materials to end-of-life disposal. It's also on par for the sustainability efforts that GM has put forward in recent years, extending across numerous aspects of its business including the recycling of clay used in the modeling process.

GM says that the "hydrometallurgical process through which these battery materials will be recycled emits 30 percent less greenhouse gas than traditional processes". This will lessen the overall environmental impact of battery production.

"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90 percent of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025," said Ken Morris, GM vice president of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles. "Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials."

Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100 percent of the battery packs received from customers, including any packs that have been replaced as the result of warranty service. The company says that most current GM EVs are repaired with refurbished packs.

Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle will begin the new scrap recycling process later this year.

Trending News

 
 

Hardtop and softop versions the MINI John Cooper Works have been updated for 2022.

Photo courtesy of MINI

MINI recently announced refreshed model information about more traditional Cooper models. Enthusiasts have been patiently waiting for the plans for the performance-focused John Cooper Works models to be made public. Now those retails are known.

The 2022 MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop and Convertible will feature newly fashioned round LED headlights, a larger hexagonal grille, large side air intakes, modified front scuttles, and a diffuser on the rear apron.

MINI's twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine sits under the hood of both models and generates 228 horsepower and a maximum torque of 235 pound-feet of torque. The engine moves the MINI Hardtop from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds when equipped with its standard six-speed manual transmission. To cut that number to 5.9 seconds, opt for the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission. The cabrio has a 6.3 zero to 60 mph time and has its engine paired exclusively with the automatic transmission.

2022 MINI Cooper John Cooper Works

Photo courtesy of MINI

1 / 57

The rag top of the MINI JCW Convertible opens in 18 seconds via the touch of a button at speeds up to 18.6 mph. Buyers can get the MINI Yours soft top that features a woven-in Union Jack graphic.

Two 85-millimetre stainless steel tailpipes serve as the car's available exhaust option.

MINI's engineers have fine-tuned the car's sporty suspension and given the car a sports brake system co-developed with Brembo and 17-inch JCW light alloy wheels. Eighteen-inchers are available, including a new JCWW Circuit Spoke two-tone designed wheel.

The team has also worked on the available Adaptive Suspension, adding new frequency-selective damper technology that operates with an additional valve acting on the traction side. Additionally, the maximum damping force of the Adaptive Suspension is up to 10 percent higher than before.

MINI buyers will get their cars equipped with the company's redesigned 8.8-inch infotainment touch screen display with a black panel design. Two different color schemes are available for the displays on the central instrument display - Lounge and Sport. In Lounge mode, the display surfaces appear in relaxing shades of blue and turquoise. Switching to Sport mode causes the screen backgrounds to glow in red and anthracite. If desired, the color worlds of the displays can be linked to the standard MINI Driving Modes.

The JCW sport seats have integrated headrests and the model gets an anthracite-colored roof lining, a stainless steel pedal gallery and a model-specific gearshift or gear selector lever.. There's a Nappa leather steering wheel with fresh multifunction buttons, grey contrast stitching, and a John Cooper Works logo on the center spoke.

MINI will sell the models with new comfort, connectivity, and driver assistance equipment packages. The roster of new options includes a heated steering wheel, lane departure warning in the Driving Assistant and the Stop & Go function for Active Cruise Control.

Pricing for the 2022 MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop starts at $32,900 and maxes out at $33,900. The Convertible has a starting MSRP of $38,900 and stretches to $44,900 in its top-tier trim level. Every model has an additional $850 destination and delivery fee.

Trending News