SK On is planning to develop an electric vehicle (EV) battery that doesn’t use cobalt, TheElec has learned.
Cobalt is considered a conflict mineral and is more expensive than other materials used in batteries such as nickel and manganese.
SK On is aiming to develop the battery within three years and is in talks with its cathode supplier to set a roadmap for the plan.
The battery is highly likely to use lithium manganese iron phosphate, or LMFP, cathode.
SK On is also currently developing lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries __ both of which will likely be supplied to low- to mid-tier EVs.
SK On is not the only EV battery maker with such plans. EV manufacturers themselves are requesting their battery suppliers minimize the use of conflict minerals such as cobalt, tungsten, and others.
Using none or less cobalt for the cathode usually means putting in more manganese, which is cheaper than nickel and considered more stable to avoid fires.
The downside is that manganese has less energy density than other materials.
Also, SK On may ship fewer of these cobalt-free batteries than it wants as the best batteries are high-nickel batteries.