12 Jan 2021 The Importance of Class One Nickel for the EV Markets
Nickel might be one of the more abundant metals in the Earth’s crust, but it’s not all about just nickel, we want class one battery grade nickel. Could you explain the difference between the class one high-grade nickel that you need for batteries and the more common nickel that goes into stainless steel alloys?
EVs have burst onto the scene over the last few years. In 2012, there were less than 50,000 EVs sold globally. This year we should exceed 2 million and if our indications are right, by 2030, we should be around 20-25 million units, so they are going to become more and more mainstream.
There are two main features that consumers want in an electric vehicle, which is generally to match what they have today in a petrol car. They want range and they want recharge time. In range they want between 650 to 900 kilometers. And for recharge time they want about five or six minutes, which is how long it takes to refill your car.
For this type of range, batteries need to have nickel. So, you have a cathode and you have an anode and a battery where the electrons go back and forth. The cathode is where the nickel lies, and the electrons hook up with the nickel. There is also some cobalt, manganese, and aluminum, depending on the chemistry, which is there to stabilize and make sure things don’t get too carried away (overheat). But the more nickel you can put in there the better. As we become better and better at making batteries, what we’re finding is the nickel quality needs to be finer and finer, so from two nines to three nines to four nines.