Svolt Energy Technology, a Chinese EV battery manufacturer, has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first cobalt-free battery in series production and installed in Great Wall’s ORA Cherry Cat shown at this year’s Chengdu Motor Show.

The cobalt-free pack uses standard platform MEB modules, aerospace-grade thermal insulation materials, and is a lightweight design.

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The pack has passed comprehensive performance tests and safety tests, and test data such as thermal runaway far exceeds national standard requirements.

The cobalt-free pack can reach 82.5KWh of electricity, energy density of 170Wh/kg , and deliver a range of 600km (370 miles) under normal temperature conditions. It can deliver 0-100 km/h acceleration in under 5 seconds, has an IP67 waterproof rating, high energy retention, and fast heating speed in low temperature conditions.

Svolt has spent several years on cobalt-free R&D technology and has invested CNY500 m (US$77.25m) in R&D funding using 1,200 R&D personnel and 120 materials and battery specialists.

The battery maker said cobalt sustainability is an important emerging issue as global reserves are limited at only about 7.1m tons. According to forecasts, after 2026, cobalt will be in short supply and its price will continue to rise. The continued increase in costs has seriously restrained the development of the industry, making it an urgent problem for the industry to solve and consider how to eliminate long-term dependence on cobalt and avoid being constrained by the cobalt giants.

In addition, half of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Katanga Copperbelt in Congo, with a substantial proportion (estimated at 15–20%) being extracted by artisanal miners.

Since 2020, the cobalt-free pack has been road tested in the GW ORA prototype. It has passed many vehicle performance tests such as strengthening road endurance test, vehicle charging and discharging performance, rapid acceleration, performance degradation, and full insulation inspection of the vehicle battery pack. The cumulative test mileage has reached 800,000km and the test data is described as “excellent”.