Nov 7, 2019

Volvo using blockchain to trace cobalt supply for electric vehicle batteries

Photo: Karol Serewis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Volvo says it's working with suppliers to bring "global traceability" of cobalt used in EV batteries through the use of blockchain technology.

Why it matters: Cobalt is a key material in batteries, but its extraction — largely in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — is linked to human rights abuses and dangerous conditions.

The big picture: Demand for the material is set to grow as automakers roll out more and more EV models in the coming years — including Volvo, which unveiled its first fully electric car last month with more on the way.

Where it stands: Volvo said the use of the digital transaction technology "boosts transparency of the raw material supply chain as the information about the material’s origin cannot be changed undetected."

  • The company said it has reached agreements with its two main battery suppliers, CATL and LG Chem, to implement the "traceability" this year. Tech companies including Oracle and IBM are involved in the effort.

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GM to create 1,100 Ohio jobs with huge new battery factory

GM and Korea's LG Chem announced a $2.3 billion joint venture on Thursday to mass-produce battery cells for electric vehicles in Ohio, creating 1,100 new jobs.

Why it matters: The new battery plant could likely employ many of the 1,200 auto workers who lost their jobs when GM shut its Lordstown car assembly plant in March. And it's a further sign of GM's commitment to an electric car future.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019

China's invisible brands

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American consumers are quite familiar with many of the big-name foreign products — Toyota, Samsung, to name a couple — but brands from China are virtually invisible.

The big picture: Chinese companies doing business in the U.S. are doing their best to hide where they come from. If they're not actively masking their home country, they're certainly not leading with it.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019

The bumpy transition toward electric vehicles

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Daimler announced over $1 billion in job cuts over the next three years on Thursday, citing the costs of moving the company toward a more climate-friendly product line and meeting EU emissions targets.

Why it matters: The German auto behemoth's announcement is a sign of how the wider industry's movement toward electric vehicles and automated technology will be a bumpy ride.

Go deeperArrowNov 14, 2019