Tesla in Talks to Buy Low-Carbon Nickel from Canada

Tesla in Talks to Buy Low-Carbon Nickel from Canada

Automotive Weekly

Tesla in Talks to Buy Low-Carbon Nickel from Canada


Nissan Motor Co. raised $8 billion in its first non-convertible dollar bond sale in at least two decades, in one of the biggest ever deals in Asia. The Japanese carmaker sold the dollar securities in four parts, and may debut a public euro note offering as soon as Friday, according to people familiar with the matter. The fundraising comes after Nissan recorded its biggest loss in about 20 years, and underscores broader strength in global credit markets after a rally sparked by monetary stimulus from March.

Source: Bloomberg


Tesla Inc. is in discussions with Canadian miner Giga Metals about helping to develop a large mine that would give the electric vehicle maker access to low-carbon nickel for its batteries, three people familiar with the matter said. Alongside its goal to reduce pollution from driving, Tesla is also striving to reduce its own carbon footprint. "Tesla will give you a giant contract for a long period of time if you mine nickel efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way," CEO Elon Musk said in July.

Giga Metals's low-carbon nickel plans include turning waste from its mining operations into cement type rock using carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and using hydropower. Giga Metals's President Martin Vydra declined to comment on any talks with Tesla, but said: "Giga is actively engaged, and has been for some time, with automakers regarding our ability to produce carbon-neutral nickel. "The cost of developing our project, excluding bringing hydroelectric power to the site, will be less than $1 billion."

Tesla did not respond to requests for comment.

Used to store energy in batteries, nickel is expected to see a surge in demand over coming years as governments, companies and consumers seek to curb emissions from fossil-fuel vehicles. Forecasts from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence suggest nickel demand for batteries will rise to 1.4 million tons (1.2 million tonnes) in 2030, or 30 per cent of total nickel demand, from around 139,000 tons (126,000 tonnes) and six per cent respectively this year, as sales of electric vehicles increase.

The problem for Tesla and other automakers is that most of the world's new nickel production will come from Indonesia, where the process would involve disposing mining waste into the ocean, a major concern for environmentalists.

Giga Metals's Turnagain mine in British Columbia has measured and indicated resources of 2.36 million tons (2.14 million tonnes) of nickel and 141,000 tons (128,000 tonnes) of cobalt, according to its website. Canada produced 180,000 tonnes of nickel last year.

Neutralizing emissions

Giga plans to produce 40,000 tons (36,000 tonnes) of nickel and 2,000 tons (1,800 tonnes) of cobalt a year for 20 years. That would be enough to power thousands of electric vehicles.\

"The mine is in North America, so could secure supplies for Tesla's Nevada Gigafactory," one person familiar with the matter said, adding Canada's environmental regulations were among the most stringent in the world.

Tesla could provide financing, possibly in exchange for equity, nickel and cobalt. It could agree to buy the nickel and cobalt, which would attract financing from others, the person added.

Any deal would be for the life of the mine, which could be for up to 40 years, the people said.

The Financial Times recently reported that Tesla had agreed to buy cobalt from commodity trader and miner Glencore.

The people said Giga Metals had also discussed the possibility of a deal with other automakers including Germany's BMW and Mercedes-Benz, a subsidiary of Daimler. Daimler said: "we do not comment on supplier relationships for competitive reasons," while BMW said: "we generally do not comment on suppliers we might hire in the future".

The Turnagain deposit, at around a billion years old, is relatively young and clean of impurities, which would mean high recoveries of nickel and cobalt. Giga has access to hydroelectric power in British Columbia, but producing metal creates carbon emissions as it involves using diesel-fueled machinery, trucks, heating buildings and blasting hard rock. However, the company is working on a process that would allow the tailings, or waste rock, to absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and turn it into cement type rock, the sources said. "Mining and processing the ore at Turnagain is likely to generate up to 28,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year," the second person said. "The tailings could absorb up to a similar tonnage of carbon, neutralising emissions from the mine."

Source: Reuters


Cadillac is upping its game in the sedan market for 2021 by adding new technology and special editions to the CT4 and CT5, which made their debuts only a year ago, including a feature that requires the driver to buckle up. The driver safety technologies include the new standard Buckle to Drive feature, according to Cadillac. If the driver’s seat belt is not buckled when the car starts and Buckle to Drive is turned on, this feature will prevent the shifter from leaving Park for up to 20 seconds, or until the driver’s seat belt is buckled, whichever comes first. 

Source: The Detroit Bureau


Daimler will pay $2.2 billion to resolve a U.S. government diesel emissions cheating investigation and claims from 250,000 U.S. vehicle owners, court documents show.

The German automaker and its Mercedes-Benz USA LLC unit disclosed on Aug. 13 it had reached a settlement in principle resolving civil and environmental claims tied to 250,000 U.S. diesel cars and vans after the automaker used software to evade emissions rules.

Daimler said in August it expected costs of settlements with U.S. authorities would total $1.5 billion, settling with owners will cost another $700 million and also disclosed "further expenses of a mid three-digit-million EUR (euro) amount to fulfill requirements of the settlements.

Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen said the settlements, which follow a nearly five-year investigation, will "serve to deter any others who may be tempted to violate our nation’s pollution laws in the future."

In court documents, Daimler agreed to pay 250,000 owners up to $3,290 each to get polluting vehicles repaired and agreed not to oppose paying $83.4 million in attorneys fees and expenses for the owners' lawyers. Owners will get $800 less if a prior owner files a valid claim.

Daimler noted in court papers it denies the allegations "and does not admit any liability." The settlement does not include an external compliance monitor, it added. The German automaker still faces an ongoing criminal investigation and could face additional U.S. financial penalties.

The settlements require Daimler to address the vehicles' excess emissions as part of binding consent decrees. Daimler will issue recalls and extended warranties but is not required to buy back vehicles unless it is unable to offer an emissions fix within a required timetable.

The Justice Department said Daimler failed to disclose at least 16 auxiliary emissions control devices, the government alleged, allowing "vehicles to perform in a variety of consumer-desirable ways, including allowing for fewer (diesel exhaust fluid) tank refills (and) better fuel mileage."

The settlement includes an $875 million civil penalty levied under the Clean Air Act and $546 million to fix the polluting vehicles and offset excess emissions, court papers show. Daimler will pay California $285.6 million in total.

Diesel vehicles have come under scrutiny in the United States since Volkswagen Group admitted in September 2015 to installing secret software on 580,000 U.S. vehicles that allowed them to emit up to 40 times legally allowable emissions. In September 2019, Daimler in Germany agreed to pay a fine of 870 million euros ($1 billion) for breaking diesel emissions regulations.

Both Volkswagen and Daimler have halted sales of U.S. passenger diesel vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in 2019 reached a settlement worth about $800 million to resolve claims by regulators and owners that it used illegal software that produced false results on diesel-emissions tests.

Fiat Chrysler said in July it was in talks to resolve an ongoing Justice Department criminal probe.

Source: Reuters


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and PSA Group changed the terms of their merger to preserve cash as the two car makers shore up their financial positions following the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Fiat Chrysler will now pay a cash dividend of €2.9 billion ($3.44 billion) to its shareholders ahead of the closing of the merger, down from the previously agreed €5.5 billion, the companies said in a joint statement Monday.

Source: The Wall Street Journal


General Motors conducted “appropriate diligence” regarding a $2 billion deal with electric vehicle start-up Nikola, GM CEO Mary Barra said Monday. Barra’s comments are a response to increased scrutiny of Nikola following fraud claims made last week by short-selling firm Hindenburg Research. Nikola on Monday disputed several of the claims but didn’t deny some of its actions, including a staged video showing a semitruck that appeared to be functional but wasn’t.

Source: CNBC


General Motors Co is set to announce plans on Wednesday to put into production an interchangeable "family" of electric vehicle (EV) drive systems and motors, boosting manufacturing efficiencies as it transitions to a fully electric lineup. The move, which follows earlier GM initiatives on next-generation batteries, comes as the Detroit automaker looks to build a vertically integrated electric car business, comparable to Tesla, inside its ongoing operations. According to a GM media release viewed by Reuters, the automaker is set to announce that it has designed and plans to produce on its own five interchangeable drive units and three motors, which it calls the “Ultium Drive” system.

Source: Reuters


Volkswagen AG has wrapped up a three-year supervision program under a U.S.-appointed independent monitor in the wake of its emissions scandal, resulting in a more transparent company, a top executive said. The German car maker has worked to strengthen its risk-based compliance program and has focused on training to improve workplace culture as it sought to meet its obligations under a plea agreement with U.S. authorities, Kurt Michels, Volkswagen’s chief compliance officer, said in an interview. Volkswagen said that since 2017, it has updated and strengthened its structures and systems in technical development, governance, risk management, compliance and legal functions, among other divisions.

Source: The Wall Street Journal


Cadillac on Wednesday told its 880 U.S. dealers that they will need to invest at least $200,000 each on electric vehicle chargers, tooling and training to continue selling the brand's vehicles beyond 2022. The brand plans to launch its first EV, the Lyriq crossover, in late 2022, and have a fully electric lineup by the end of the decade. "Now's really the time to start engaging with our dealers in preparation for that," Rory Harvey, vice president of Cadillac sales, service and marketing, told Automotive News.

Source: Automotive News


Ford Motor Co. executives say the upcoming battery-electric F-150 will be cheaper to own and more powerful than the current gasoline-powered pickup, addressing two common concerns around electric vehicle ownership two years ahead of its debut. While the company wouldn't provide specific figures, Kumar Galhotra, Ford's president of the Americas and International Markets Group, said the lifetime cost of ownership of the electric F-150 will be roughly half that of the current-generation vehicle. The lower estimate is based off zero gas and oil usage, low electric charging rates, lower maintenance costs and increased vehicle uptime, Ford said.

Source: Automotive News

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