EV Traction Battery Minerals Mix

By Paul Gipe

In following online discussions of EVs, there’s often reference to the type of traction battery used. Eric Way of News Coulomb fame is one who is comfortable talking about the benefits and drawbacks of different traction battery chemistries.

It was all a mystery to me until I stumbled over the article: The Key Minerals in an EV Battery. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the material, but the article was helpful in understanding what NMC811 means in reference to EV batteries. The answer is Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt in an 80%, 10%, and 10% mix.

In a nickel-rich, lithium-ion battery, such as in Chevy’s Bolt, there may be as little as 6 kg (~12 pounds) of lithium or only 3% of the minerals in a 60 kWh traction battery with 185 kg (400 pounds) of materials. All told the Chevy Bolt’s battery weighs in 440 kg (~1000 pounds) so there’s a lot more to the battery than just lithium, or nickel and cobalt.