We can all agree that we haven’t fully taken up electric vehicles yet because of their high prices. Statistics reveal that an electric vehicle is about $12,500 to $19,000 more expensive than an internal combustion engine car. Although electric vehicles are affordable when it comes to running them, the high upfront cost has scared away most people who would have purchased them. A high uptake rate would require incentives and subsidies to set up the customers to buy them at their disposable income levels. The high prices for these cars seem to emerge from the cost of rechargeable batteries. This trend has forced companies like Tesla to start developing their batteries on a cobalt substitute since it is the most expensive in the whole battery.
Most automakers try to break out of the dependence on cobalt batteries and find technologies that can replace this component. The companies are focusing on the battery because it is the deciding factor for the advancement of electric vehicles. Moreover, the battery ensures that the environment is clean as it eliminates the need for combustion systems which are notorious sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
Companies in the electric vehicle sector have been using nickel cobalt manganese lithium-ion batteries due to their popularity and potential to support long mileage ranges. Cobalt is a rare element, and that’s why it is expensive and matters in the battery’s price mix. Companies must drop the cobalt in their battery manufacturing process because it is expensive and scarce. Eliminating this component will reduce the cost and prices of electric cars by a third. Most automakers have reported the challenge in their switch to lithium iron phosphate as the electrode is that the battery dies out after a short mileage range. This lithium iron phosphate mixture is the proven alternative that does not have cobalt.
The extraction of cobalt equally affects the environment as fuel consumption would have done but in different dimensions. Manufacturers utilize their research and development departments to develop something that can act in cobalt’s place and that is available in sufficient quantities. The mining of cobalt has affected many people’s lives, including workers who develop lung complications since they ingest the fumes of the element, and it piles up in their air ossicles. This problem is sufficient for the electric vehicle manufacturers to dive into elements replacing cobalt. Panasonic has developed a battery with less cobalt concentration, proving that it is possible to eliminate the element. Nissan is also thinking in this direction, and the experts are hopeful that other companies can have this mind too.