July 13th, 2023 | 09:10 CEST
Altech Advanced Materials, Mercedes-Benz, BYD - Electricity storage for the future
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"[...] Nickel, therefore, benefits twice: firstly from its growing importance within batteries and secondly from the generally growing demand for such storage. [...]" Terry Lynch, CEO, Power Nickel
Altech Advanced Materials - CERENERGY battery presented at trade fair
From June 19-21, the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) Europe trade show was held in Mainz, Germany, focusing on energy storage, vehicle electrification and e-mobility. There, Altech Advanced Materials (Altech) presented the new ceramic solid-state battery called CERENERGY, which was developed together with the Fraunhofer Institute IKTS. The battery is designed to meet the specific needs for grid operation of industrial customers and municipalities that, for example, want to temporarily store electricity from renewable energy sources or compensate for peak loads to reduce costs. At the same time, the battery is virtually weather-independent, modularly expandable, almost maintenance-free, non-combustible and very safe to operate.
A corresponding battery factory is to be built in Schwarze Pumpe, Saxony, with an initial capacity of 100 MWh. Coating of anode material for batteries is also planned at the site. Altech has developed a technology that enables both graphite and silicon to be coated in the nanometer range. This makes electric vehicle batteries about 10% more powerful and increases battery life by about 30%. The coated silicon is being marketed under the brand name "Silumina Anodes" and promises great potential. Several battery manufacturers are already experimenting with silicon as an anode material because it can be used to store significantly more energy. The Company plans to produce 10,000 t of coated silicon per year.
The first Silumina Anodes are to be produced in the pilot plant as early as the 3rd quarter of 2023. Construction is nearing completion. With the first production, commercialization can begin. Automotive and battery manufacturers will receive test material on request and can thus try out the anode material in their batteries. SGL Carbon supplies the graphite, and the silicon comes from Ferroglobe. The market for anode material will grow significantly in the coming years, just like the market for electricity storage. At the beginning of 2023, the share price was still EUR 3.74, but by mid-June, it had risen to EUR 17.50. Currently, one pays EUR 15.20 for a share certificate.
Mercedes-Benz - Sales of electric vehicles increase significantly
Mercedes-Benz reported a 6% increase in car sales in the 2nd quarter to a total of 515,700 vehicles. The domestic market in Germany recorded a significant increase with 58,600 cars sold, an increase of 23%. In Europe, 157,100 vehicles were sold. Asia remained the most important market for Mercedes-Benz, with 239,200 cars sold. The majority of these sales, 183,600 vehicles, took place in China. The North American market recorded a slight increase of 3%, with 98,800 Mercedes vehicles sold.
The sale of electric vehicles has experienced strong growth. With 56,300 units sold, fully electric vehicles have seen a 123% increase compared to the previous year. Electric vehicle sales climbed particularly strongly in the US, where sales were up 509% YOY. This was mainly due to the EQS and EQE SUV variants, which are among the most popular electric vehicles in the US. By 2030, the Group intends to sell only fully electric vehicles, provided the market conditions are right.
Even before the sales figures, there was a buy recommendation for the share from the Canadian RBC. The analysts were convinced by the focus on the premium sector and the associated high margins. Following the figures, there was a further buy recommendation from Bernstein Research, who assume that the pent-up demand can at least partially offset the economic difficulties. The price targets were given as EUR 90 and EUR 92. Currently, the share is trading at EUR 72.25.
BYD - Internationalization is being driven forward
BYD outpaced Tesla last year. The Company, which gained prominence through battery production, is using its expertise in battery manufacturing to become one of the biggest players in e-mobility. Its Blade Batteries are considered leading-edge, and China is a huge market for electric vehicles. According to one report, the Company had reportedly parked thousands of cars on unused land, but the images did not have much impact. This may also be due to the promotion of e-cars in China, which was recently extended.
BYD will certainly benefit from this. The subsidiary Denza, in which Mercedes-Benz still holds a 10% stake, is on the rise after being in the red for a long time. The new Denza N7 model is to compete with the Tesla Model Y. Speaking of competition: To end the price war in the Chinese market, 16 automakers have signed an agreement to guarantee fair competition. However, the agreement is not binding. It remains to be seen to what extent the signatories will adhere to it.
In order to develop further markets outside China, the Group plans to invest EUR 570 million in a new plant in Brazil. On completion in 2024, the Company will be able to produce 150,000 vehicles with the option of doubling capacity. The signs continue to point to growth. Nevertheless, Berkshire Hathaway continues to divest its shares. However, Warren Buffet's company is sitting on huge profits, and there may be skepticism about BYD's ability to continue making such significant price jumps. The share is currently available for EUR 30.42.
The market for power storage and batteries for electric vehicles will grow strongly in the coming years. Altech Advanced Materials, together with the Fraunhofer Institute, plays both fields at once and owns proprietary technologies. Mercedes-Benz is selling significantly more electric vehicles than a year ago, and the trend will continue. BYD is the Number 1 in China. But now they want to attack outside the Middle Kingdom and are building in Brazil.
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