President Biden just approved a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. According to USA Today, “The $1.2 trillion plan includes $579 billion in new spending and focuses only on physical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, rail, broadband internet, water and sewer pipes, and electric vehicles.” It’ll also set aside billions of dollars to electric vehicle infrastructure, as well as electric buses and transit. All of which could be significant catalysts for Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA), Nio Inc. (NYSE:NIO), Li Auto Inc. (NASDAQ:LI), Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), and EV battery company, NEO Battery Materials Ltd. (TSXV:NBM)(OTC:NBMFF).
Along the way, it will also increase the need for far better EV battery technology. NEO Battery Materials Ltd., for example, recently announced it “achieved breakthrough results in attaining a highly stable long-term cycling ability using 100% silicon (Si) anodes,” as reported by Battery Industry. Helping even more, “Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, said, incorporating silicon into the anode of a Li-ion battery has the potential to improve energy density by 20–40%, extending the maximum range of vehicles by 20%.”
NEO Battery Materials Providing Corporate Updates
NEO Battery Materials Ltd. (TSXV:NBM)(OTC:NBMFF) provided the following updates on its recent corporate activities and initiatives that includes 1) commercial-level composite anode which consists of NEO’s silicon and conventional graphite, 2) new activity for integrating NEO’s silicon into sulfide solid-state electrolytes (SSE), and 3) developments on NDAs, non-dilutive financing, mining work, and OTCQB listing.
“We are currently in the process of strategically placing NEO on an accelerated route to commercialization,” commented Spencer Huh, President and CEO of NEO. “The development of our prototype is our emphasis as we are researching to increase the specific capacity of our high silicon content anodes with graphite, and we are also onto a new strategic move into integrating NEO’s silicon with solid-state electrolytes. We are in discussion with parties in the industry to explore and discover potential synergies and mutual benefit for NEO’s silicon anode technology.”
NEO Silicon Anode Prototype Update
Following the successful integration of NEO’s silicon (Si) technology in commercial graphite anodes, NEO is also pleased to announce that it is in the scale-up phase and is on track to develop its first prototype of the silicon anode material. In phase one, NEO will provide graphite/Si mixture anode materials with different levels of NEO’s Si content for controllable anode specific capacity. NEO has recently achieved ~500 mAh/g, which is a 70% capacity enhancement compared to commercial graphite anodes. By increasing NEO’s Si content, about a two times higher value with reasonable long-term durability for commercialization will be soon achieved.
Dr. J. H. Park, Director and Chief Scientific Advisor of NEO, commented, “Our silicon anode technology and process has been researched and refined for 7 years. We are positioning NEO to take active steps towards commercialization and advancing the nanocoating technology for high power battery cells for electric vehicles.”
NEO has commenced to formulate its silicon anodes on a reactor to model and simulate the contiguous, single-step process. This step is required for large scale manufacturing along with the feasibility study and pilot project design. The Company will be moving forward to test its silicon anodes through full pouch cells and will continue to evaluate and improve the materials through third-party laboratory tests and validations.
Solid-State Electrolyte Test Initiative
As the latest initiative, Dr. Park will begin the testing and modification of NEO’s silicon anode materials with sulfide-based solid-state electrolytes to enable compatibility and working performance with solid-state batteries. NEO deems that the integration into solid-state battery technology is of essence as the industry is facing a solid-state transition due to cost, run-time, durability, and safety.
Strategic Developments: NDA, Non-Dilutive Financing, Mining Work, OTCQB
As stated, NEO’s technology has gained attention from parties in the battery materials and metals industry. Over the past three months, the Company has signed 11 NDAs which include solid-state electrolyte (SSE) developer, battery cell, materials, and metals developers and manufacturers, and financial advisory firms. NEO is currently in technical discussions and will update promptly any progress achieved with the respective parties. As of this time, there are no binding or definitive agreements with these parties, and due to the competitive nature of the industry, all parties will remain confidential. With Korea Metal Silicon Co., NEO is in the process of discussing and attempting to integrate each party’s technology to explore synergies within the silicon powder and anode manufacturing process.
Dr. Jinhyuk Lee, Member of the Scientific Advisory Board, Mr. James Suk, and Dr. Andrew Fraser, Advisors of NEO, has initiated the process of applying to non-dilutive financing from the Canadian Federal and Provincial Government. These grants will include but not limited to the Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) Research Grant, grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and other provincial grants.
NEO has started its silica mining work in Golden, B.C. Samples will be sent to Bureau Veritas Minerals where they will be analyzed to confirm the percentage of silicon in the quartzite samples. NEO is intending to seek synergies and cost reductions made within the value chain of mine to silicon anode materials and manufacturing. The Company will update its mining work progress and its developments on the value chain integration of silicon metal and anode materials.
The Company is currently in the process of becoming listed on the OTCQB market. The listing would provide additional liquidity for shares through increased exposure in the US market.
Other related developments from around the markets include:
Tesla Inc. released its financial results for the first quarter of 2021 by posting an update on its Investor Relations website. Please visit https://ir.tesla.com to view the update.
Nio Inc., a pioneer and a leading manufacturer of premium smart electric vehicles in China, provided its May 2021 delivery results. NIO delivered 6,711 vehicles in May 2021, representing a solid 95.3% year-over-year growth. The deliveries consisted of 1,412 ES8s, the Company’s six-seater and seven-seater flagship premium smart electric SUV, 3,017 ES6s, the Company’s five-seater high-performance premium smart electric SUV, and 2,282 EC6s, the Company’s five-seater premium smart electric coupe SUV. As of May 31, 2021, cumulative deliveries of the ES8, ES6 and EC6 reached 109,514 vehicles.
Li Auto Inc., an innovator in China’s new energy vehicle market, announced that the Company delivered 4,323 Li ONEs in May 2021, representing a 101.3% year-over-year increase. “We are pleased to see our 2021 Li ONE, released on May 25, receive very positive feedback and strong recognition from our users demonstrated by the robust order inflow that took the total orders in May to a record high. Deliveries of the 2021 Li ONE, the first vehicle in the world with a full-stack self-developed NOA in a standard configuration, have already started. Given the strong uptake of the 2021 Li ONE since its launch and the continuous expansion of our direct sales and servicing network, we are optimistic that our deliveries in the second quarter will exceed the top end of our guidance range, and keep rising going forward, while the ongoing industry-wide semiconductor shortage continues to generate uncertainties,” said Yanan Shen, co-founder and president of Li Auto.
Ford Motor Company, which already helps commercial customers “own work” with the world’s most popular pickup trucks and vans, now plans to redefine success for those customers with Ford Pro – a global vehicle services and distribution business that will increase uptime and reduce ownership costs, leading to higher productivity and performance. The new business – separate within Ford and the first of its kind among automakers – is a major outcome of the Ford+ plan for growth and value creation, which is based on building enduring, always-on customer relationships.
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