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Svolt launches output of cobalt-free batteries

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Svolt Energy Technology Co., the former battery unit of Great Wall Motor Co., said it began mass production of cobalt-free battery cells for electric vehicles.  

Output of the batteries, which are 75 percent nickel and 25 percent manganese, started at the Svolt plant in Jintan in east China’s Jiangsu province last week. 

With the elimination of cobalt – an expensive heavy metal — and lower nickel content, the proprietary nickel-manganese batteries are not only more sustainable, but about 5 percent less expensive than conventional nickel-cobalt batteries, Svolt said. 

The cobalt-free batteries will be first used to power Great Wall’s Ora-badged Cherry Cat, a subcompact electric sedan. 

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Svolt said it will also build the batteries at a planned plant in Germany to start supplying EV makers in Europe toward the end of 2023.

Svolt was spun off from Great Wall, a major private Chinese light-vehicle maker, in 2018. As of 2020, its annual battery production capacity topped 508 milliwatt-hours, ranking 14th among lithium ion battery cell suppliers in China, according to Beijing-based China Industrial Association of Power Sources. 

The battery maker supplies lithium-ion batteries to Great Wall and other major Chinese carmakers such as Geely Automobile Holdings and Dongfeng Motor Corp.  

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In November, Svolt announced plans to construct a 2 billion euros ($2.36 billion) European manufacturing hub in Germany’s Saarland region, with production due to begin in late 2023.

Earlier this month, it inked a deal to supply lithium ion batteries, high-voltage storage systems and battery management systems to Stellantis starting in 2025.

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