Electric Vehicle Sales Charging Ahead
One of the key drivers of the global electric vehicle market is the reduction in the upfront ownership cost of vehicles this year. In fact, the prices of key electric vehicles have gone down by as much as 18 per cent of their 2012 price, as manufacturers look to boost sales and stay competitive. The question is, how much this will impact the development of the market.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (www.automotive.frost.com), Strategic Outlook of the Global Electric Vehicle Market in 2013, finds that electric vehicle sales stood at 120,000 units in 2012 and estimates this to reach 2.7 million units in 2018. The global markets are indicating an upward trend in adoption as Frost & Sullivan estimates 2013 sales to boost up to 170-190,000 global sales which is more than 50 per cent increase from the previous year sales.
“The scheduled introduction of about 15 new electric vehicle models in the next one year, such as the BMW i8, the Tesla Model S, the Audi R8 and Q7, the Porsche 918 Spyder, and the Mercedes SLS AMG ECell, will intensify competition in the global electric vehicle market and bring down prices,” said Frost & Sullivan Automotive and Transportation Team Leader Anjan Hemanth Kumar. “Several new electric cars including Tesla Model S, Renault Zoe, and Ford Fusion Energi are already best-sellers in their respective markets.”
“By and large electric vehicles have been concentric to fleets since the launch. The vision for 2013 and beyond for the vehicle manufacturers is to reach out to private consumers and create demand,” Kumar said.
Moreover, the cost of lithium-ion batteries has decreased by 20 to 40 percent in the last five years, enabling vehicle manufacturers to lower the price of electric vehicles and fuel adoption.
Range anxiety due to the lack of a robust charging infrastructure network with standardized business models has been another major market challenge. Earlier this year, the Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE) standardized Combo-type connectors for direct current (DC) charging.
In the near future, both CHAdeMO and Combo type DC charging are expected to coexist. More than ten automakers have launched trials for inductive charging, and standardization for the same is likely to be announced in 2014. SAE has already set up a taskforce working towards the standardization of inductive charging.
In addition, governments in various countries have extended incentives and benefits for electric vehicle consumers to 2015 and beyond. Scandinavia has led the way, with Norway gradually increasing its penetration rate of electric vehicles beyond three per cent in 2013.
“Europe has invested close to EUR 2 billion in various R&D projects ranging from electric vehicle powertrain to grid,” Kumar said. “Added developments in battery technology in the United States,China and Europe will improve energy density and further reduce cost.”
Strategic Outlook of the Global Electric Vehicle Market in 2013 (M952-18) is part of the Automotive & Transportation Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan's related research services include: Global Electric Vehicle Forecast, Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in North America, Global EV Market, and Central and Eastern European Electric Vehicle Industry.
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.