September 16th, 2022 | 11:52 CEST
Altech Advanced Materials, Tesla, BYD - German engineering before Germany as a business location
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"[...] Silumina Anodes® is a ceramic-coated graphite/silicon anode composite material that we plan to produce in Schwarze Pumpe, Saxony. Here, we aim to supply manufacturers of batteries for e-cars with an application-ready drop-in technology that is low-cost, high-performance and safe. [...]" Uwe Ahrens, Direktor, Altech Advanced Materials AG
Born in Bielefeld, she studied German, English and psychology. The emergence of the Internet in the early '90s led her from university to training in graphic design and marketing communications. After years of agency work in corporate branding, she switched to publishing and learned her editorial craft at Hubert Burda Media.
Altech Advanced Materials in the battery fast lane with Fraunhofer joint venture
Performance and range are the key factors in electromobility. For EVs to become widespread, robust batteries and widely networked charging stations are needed. An innovative approach to outstanding battery performance is offered by the Company Altech Advanced Materials. The Heidelberg-based company is developing a technology that makes it possible to make conventional lithium-ion batteries last longer and perform better than previous models.
The process developed by Altech Advanced Materials uses aluminum oxide-coated graphite. It can extend a battery's charging time by up to 30%. The low-cost process is quick and easy to commercialize.
Altech Advanced Materials has now entered into a joint venture with Fraunhofer IKTS to produce solid-state batteries. The Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS, based in Dresden and Hermsdorf, conducts applied research and development in the field of advanced ceramics and materials diagnostics. Together, the two companies will establish Altech Batteries GmbH, in which Altech Advanced Materials will hold a 75% stake. The joint venture will build a new production facility for CERENERGY® batteries. CERENERGY® batteries use high-purity alumina for their ceramic solid-state electrolyte and common salt as the cathode medium instead of lithium. The first product line of the plant, which is expected to produce 100 MWh annually, is being built at the Schwarze Pumpe site in Saxony, Germany.
The CERENERGY® batteries are resource-efficient and suitable for renewable energy storage and industrial and private household applications. They can also be used as energy storage devices to provide a buffer between power generation and consumption.
Anyone who wants to find out more can do so directly from board member Uwe Ahrens. He will be among the speakers at the International Investment Forum (IIF). Participation in the digital event is free of charge by registering via Zoom.
Tesla green heath factory on hold? The US entices with e-mobile subsidies
Some 2,000 jobs are on the line in Grünheide near Berlin. According to a leaked report in the Wall Street Journal, Tesla wants to change its battery strategy to benefit from US tax incentives. That does not mean insolvency for the Grünheide site; they would simply not produce.
In August, US President Joe Biden signed into law the new Inflation Reduction Act, which provides billions in tax incentives for e-car makers. E-vehicle buyers are eligible for a USD 7,500 per-purchase tax credit if the cars' batteries meet certain criteria. Last year, Elon Musk wholeheartedly rejected government subsidies from the German government totaling EUR 1.14 billion knocked out. With the indication that he could achieve this sum much faster on the capital market.
Somewhat disgruntled by the newly gained US home advantage, Brandenburg Ministry spokeswoman Irene Beringer responded in a written statement: "It seems possible that Tesla will reprioritize individual process steps in the plants, but that the Grünheide site will be retained in structure and with its jobs." Construction of the battery factory is already advanced. But given energy prices, Germany is not currently an attractive location for fast-calculating entrepreneurs like Elon Musk. The automaker may benefit from clauses in the US Inflation Control Act that it can take advantage of if it increases its domestic battery production. Tesla shares bounced back this week from EUR 290 to EUR 303.10..
BYD - Models available in Germany, the group is threatened with lockdowns
Now, three Chinese electric car manufacturer models are available in Germany. Germany will see the launch of the SUV Tang, the electric sedan Han and the Atto. All cars are purely electric and convince with their technology. The Atto model with a 60.5-kWh battery starts from EUR 42,245. The BYD Tang comes with an 86.4-kWh battery and is available from EUR 71,400. The BYD Han with an 85.4-kWh battery stands at EUR 70,805.
BYD announced record sales of 174,915 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) for the month of August. That is 185% more than in the same month last year and 7.6% more than in July (162,530). Passenger car sales increased by 173,977 units, with all-electric vehicle sales up 172% to 82,678. PHEV sales posted a 203% increase to 91,299 units.
CEO Wang Chuanfu points out that COVID production restrictions and the drought in August had some impact on production. Recently, China has sealed off Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province with a population of 21 million, because of new COVID cases. The city of Shenzhen, where BYD is headquartered, may also face another lockdown. But that does little to dampen demand for BYD models. According to group data, production capacity is over 200,000pcs per month, and the order backlog is more than 700,000pcs. Investors should keep an eye on the possible delays due to the Zero-COVID strategy.
The COVID pandemic is not quite over yet. China, in particular, is causing significant downtime in production chains with new government-imposed lockdowns, which could also affect e-car maker BYD and its sales. Elon Musk also seems to be answering the government's call. A new law passed by US President Joe Biden supports electric battery manufacturers with subsidies in their own country. As a result, things are currently looking anything but rosy for the German Tesla Gigafactory at the Grünheide site near Berlin. The plant may not even start producing. German engineering is still in demand: for example, Altech Advanced Materials is launching a joint venture with Fraunhofer's IKTS division specifically for the production of energy-efficient batteries. The high-performance CERENERGY® batteries are an indispensable component of the charging infrastructure for e-mobility and are therefore future-oriented.
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