Tag Archives: industry news

Ram 1500 REV being recharged

Stellantis teams up with Orano to recycle Fiat-Chrysler EVs

Sustainable mobility is an “ethical responsibility,” according to Stellantis, the multinational conglomerate you probably knew as Fiat-Chrysler before the UAW strikes began. Now the Italian-American automotive conglomerate Stellantis is turning those words into action, announcing a partnership with French nuclear fuel cycle company Orano for all future EV battery recycling plans. All in the name of the Stellantis “Dare Forward 2030” plan to reduce carbon in the atmosphere as a net-zero company by 2038.

The joint venture capitalizes on Orano’s innovative, low-carbon technology, which breaks with existing processes, allowing the recovery of all materials from lithium-ion batteries, and the manufacturing of new cathode materials. The joint venture will produce materials also known as “black mass” or “active mass.” This can be refined in Orano’s hydrometallurgical plant to be built in Dunkirk, France so that the materials could be re-used in batteries, thus closing the loop of a circular economy.

Stellantis and Orano Press Release

This deal means that Stellantis brands like North American brands like Fiat, Chrysler, and Dodge will have access to reclaimed battery materials. Orano claims an up to 90% metal recovery rate from lithium-ion batteries and can manufacture new battery cathode materials. This will be done at existing Stellantis facilities and is the first time a major automotive player has involved itself in the value chain in this way.

The sought-after material here is black mass. Black mass is the material that comes from dismantling and shredding an EV battery. Through chemical processes, high amounts of lithium, manganese, cobalt, and nickel metals can be recovered from dead batteries and reused for new ones.

Image Credit: AutoWeek

Are electric vehicle batteries recyclable today?

China is currently a major recycler of EV Battery materials – with the largest being Ganfeng Lithium. The country averages over 20,000 tons of waste lithium iron phosphate batteries and 14,000 tons of waste ternary lithium batteries per year. As of October 2022, China has 61 existing lithium-ion battery recycling plants. However, there are some serious competitors closer to home too:

  • Umicore: Belgian-French multinational materials battery recycling and materials company.
  • Ecobat LLC: U.S.-based company specializing in the collection, recycling, production, and distribution of energy storage solutions and other commodities.
  • Glencore plc: Swiss multinational trading and mining company.
  • Ganfeng Lithium Group: Chinese conglomerate with a focus on lithium recycling and raw material supply.

Reclamation of lithium and cobalt is especially important as the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that supply shortages could be a reality as early as 2025.

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Tesla Model 3 review testing at Tesla Mt. Kisco showroom in Westchester County, NY

Green NCAP honors four vehicles with new Life Cycle Assessment award

Green NCAP has announced the first vehicles to be awarded its new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) award. So who is Green NCAP, what even is that, and which other vehicles were recognized besides the Tesla Model 3? Let’s get right to it.

The independent UK organization Green NCAP’s mission is to promote the clean, energy-efficient development of cars while minimizing environmental impact. A noble cause. It achieves this through its star rating and index system which can summarize a vehicle’s performance in clean air, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 2019, Green NCAP’s star ratings have provided consumers with an easy way to compare the on-road environmental performance of new cars under identical driving conditions.  LCA information complements the rating as it assesses the vehicle’s complete environmental impact, taking into account factors like production, energy supply, and end-of-life.  We believe that this award helps consumers to make an informed and greener choice about the true sustainability of their cars – it will be a true differentiator for the wide choice of electric cars currently on offer on the forecourt.  Moreover, it is hoped that the award will act as a catalyst for the industry to innovate and accelerate its development of more sustainable cars.

Dr. Aleksandar Damyanov, Green NCAP Technical Manager

The LCA award is given to the best performers, tested since 2022 — receiving five stars in their assessments. Four cars have been given the LCA Award: the Dacia Spring, the ORA Funky Cat, Renault’s electric Megane E-Tech, and the Tesla Model 3. These vehicles currently have total life cycle greenhouse gas emissions equal to or less than 120 g CO2‑eq./km.

Green NCAP hopes the LCA award helps encourage consumers to make a “greener choice” when shopping for a new vehicle. Time will tell which new vehicles will join LCA club going forward. Our money is on the 2025 Tesla Model 2.

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UAW member on strike outside Ford plant in Michigan

UAW union walks out of Kentucky truck plant in a historic move

The UAW has been on strike since September 15th, strategically walking out on various factories and parts distribution centers run by Ford, GM, and Stellantis. It’s called a stand-up strike, and these moves maximize the strike fund and poke holes in the Detroit automaker’s production lines. The latest was a massive one. The strike took aim at Ford’s Kentucky Truck factory, and when negotiations fell through after only 15 minutes, 8700 workers rolled right out the door. Shutting down one of Ford’s most profitable assembly lines. The plant makes the F-250 through 550 super duty pickups, Lincoln Navigator, and the Ford Expedition bringing in 25 billion a year for Ford.

UAW members on strike outside Kentucky plant
image credit: Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal

“We have been crystal clear, and we have waited long enough, but Ford has not gotten the message,” Shawn Fain said on Wednesday. “It’s time for a fair contract at Ford and the rest of the Big Three. If they can’t understand that after four weeks, the 8,700 workers shutting down this extremely profitable plant will help them understand it.”

Other than fair wages and retirement, one of the big items on UAW President Shawn Fain’s list is the battery factories used for the shift to BEVs. While electric vehicles have been marketed as a brighter tomorrow for you, me, and the whole world, it has been a dark cloud hanging over the heads of the American auto worker. Because the factories assembling the batteries are a partnership between the Big Three and the battery manufacturers, they are able to circumvent the UAW. Fain is seeking to ensure that as the move to BEVs advances, even beyond just battery production, workers will be compensated fairly.

Stellantis, thus far, is also unwilling to add the battery plant workers to the UAW national contract, and in a rather cryptic statement on X on Thursday, Fain said, “Here’s to hoping talks at Stellantis today are more productive than Ford yesterday.”

It looks like only GM is willing to make the concession and put the battery plants under the national contract, which happened when the UAW threatened to shut down their Arlington Texas site. And while this is progress for the union, they still say there’s more work to be done with regard to everything else they need. The Big Three have a different view and believe what they have brought to the table is all they can manage. 

It’s hard to take the Big Three seriously. They’ve spent billions of dollars on stock buybacks since they recovered from the 2008 recession, a 40% increase in CEO pay over the past 4 years, while the UAW worker’s wages have stagnated. They’ve seen massive profits over the past 4 years as well and are expected to earn 32 billion in 2023. And, of course, it’s more complicated than just numbers written on a piece of paper. But it seems like the Detroit automakers could try harder to give their workers a better life.

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