Business & Economy

VW, Brazil niobium miner to develop rapid-recharge batteries for e-vehicles

Rio de Janeiro, Sep 17 (EFE).- Brazil-based Volkswagen Truck & Bus announced Friday an accord with Brazilian niobium miner CBMM to develop fast-charging lithium batteries for use in electric vehicles.

Incorporating niobium into lithium-ion batteries can reduce charging time from more than six hours to less than 10 minutes, according to CBMM, the world’s largest producer of the metal.

Brazil accounts for 98 percent of global active reserves of niobium, whose relative scarcity makes it a rare earth.

The vehicle manufacturer, whose name in Portuguese is Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus (VWCO), said that the deal represents a first for the auto industry in enhancing lithium-ion batteries with niobium.

VWCO is ready to apply the knowledge it has accumulated developing and producing electric vehicles to make the new battery viable, CEO Roberto Cortes said in a statement.

While CBMM’s vice president, Ricardo Lima, said the miner has spent more than three years working with Japan’s Toshiba to perfect the technology.

Besides sharply reducing the time needed for recharging, the use of niobium-oxide can extend the useful life of lithium-ion batteries and make them safer, Lima said.

In July, the e-Delivery, the first fully electric truck designed and built in Brazil, began rolling off the assembly line at VWCO’s plant in Resende. EFE


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