Panasonic is working on a low-cost and cobalt-free battery, according to fresh reports. It hopes to help Tesla realize its goal of increasing the affordability of its electric vehicles, and one way to do this is a cobalt-free battery.
The cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries is part of what contributes to the high upfront costs of EVs — with batteries accounting for 30% to 40% of the cars’ cost.
Cobalt is used in the cathode of lithium-ion batteries, and the cathode was once entirely made from cobalt in common batteries.
It’s important to reduce the need for cobalt especially since it’s pretty expensive but also since it’s often mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including through child slavery.
Tesla and others have moved away from sourcing unethical cobalt from there. This is also one key reason why it’s a great thing that Panasonic is focusing on moving away from cobalt in its lithium-ion batteries for EVs.
Panasonic has also established a recent partnership with Redwood Materials to step up its own effort to cut battery costs by recycling.
Reference- Nikkei Report, Panasonic website, Tesla website, Clean Technica