As the electric vehicles (EV's) are getting popularity around the corner of world. They are cleaner and more efficient, and even fun. They are considered to operate broader energy and transportation ecosystem for more cleaner energy and healthy environment for human kind.

Electric vehicles would not just remain concept vehicles anymore since increasing number of governments, car manufacturers and public are taking keen interest in this segment. The availability of incentives and subsidies, significant investment by original equipment manufacturers, new entrants, and lower battery prices are factors propelling the double-digit growth. Global  EV market grew over 15 times at a remarkable compound annual growth rate of 72.1% from 2011 to 2017.

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Authorities will have to introduce strict regulations to ensure the safe introduction of autonomous vehicles on public roads. By doing so, they can also speed up the adoption, says 2getthere, the Utrecht-based company specializing in autonomous transit systems, in a whitepaper published today, named Safety in Autonomous Transit. The whitepaper says authorities should set stricter conditions regarding road safety, reliability and availability of vehicles and also for the spatial planning of public areas where autonomous vehicles operate. Stricter regulations will most likely result in a shakeout in the supply side of the autonomous transit market.

It is becoming common for autonomous vehicles to leave their testing facilities behind in favour of public roads. Unfortunately this also leads to an increase in the number of accidents. In order to guarantee passenger safety, 2getthere says governments will have to set stricter requirements for manufacturers of autonomous vehicles. More concretely, this means that a level of safety will have to be defined which manufacturers must be able to guarantee – both on paper and in practical tests in a controlled environment. Designs should be tested for road safety by independent assessors, who should also be tasked with the assessment of public areas and traffic situations in which autonomous vehicles will be operated.

The whitepaper claims that a step-by-step approach is the most logical choice to ensure the introduction of autonomous vehicles on public roads in a manner that guarantees the safety of passengers as well as the environment. 2getthere’s experts refer to examples where autonomous vehicles are already being deployed successfully in more or less controlled environments such as airports, campuses and amusement parks. The company says the first step is to introduce autonomous vehicles in relatively controlled environments, where the number and complexity of possible interactions with other traffic can be limited.


2getthere estimates that it will take ten years or more before autonomous vehicles will dominate the public road. There is a lot of distance to cover from ‘successful demonstration’ to ‘large-scale everyday mobility solution’, says Sjoerd van der Zwaan, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of 2getthere. ‘Governments must demand from manufacturers that they are able to prove their products are safe – and they must set concrete requirements regarding reliability, availability and safety. This includes tasking the assessment of products and their application to independent bodies, such as the RDW (Netherlands Vehicle Authority) in the Netherlands. Manufacturers may see this as a challenge, but it’s a necessary step, considering the responsibility they carry in the transportation of people and the introduction of autonomous vehicles in the public area. It’s the only way to prevent unnecessary incidents.’

A call for stricter regulations will most likely result in a shakeout in the supply side of the market, says 2getthere’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Robbert Lohmann: ‘In this whitepaper we conclude that the industry is a long way away from making autonomous vehicles that are as safe in mixed traffic as, for instance, city buses with professional drivers. We believe it remains to be seen if all manufacturers currently in the market have the commitment for the long haul, or the knowledge and expertise to take the necessary steps.’


Lohmann believes the same applies to the demand side. He says: ‘Stricter requirements will increase the cost of the introduction of autonomous vehicles. Higher cost levels will cause municipal governments to shift their focus from yet more demonstrations to permanent and commercially viable solutions. In the short term, this may seem to slow down the market introduction, but in fact it will speed up the actual utilization of autonomous vehicles. For this reason, we suggest taking a pragmatic approach, in which autonomous vehicles are first introduced in semi-controlled environments before we take the step of deploying them in fully uncontrolled environments.’

He continues: ‘We will have to build up practical experience with operational systems that carry large numbers of passengers, such as those recently made possible in the Netherlands by the introduction of new legislation that regulates fully autonomous vehicles operating in mixed traffic . If at this moment we are able to introduce autonomous vehicles in a controlled manner, this will contribute to road safety in cities.’

According to data compiled by Allied Market Research, the global lithium-ion battery market is expected to reach $46.21 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 10.8 percent during the forecasted period. In the next coming years, the main driver for the market are portable devices such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets. Portable devices still control more than half of the market capital, however with the rising emergence of electric vehicles, automotive manufactures are beginning to enter. Countries such as U.S., China, and Japan are expected to drive the EV market. Lithium-ion batteries are ideal for portable devices and EVs due to its small compact size but being able to deliver its strong power, while being more eco-friendly than the standard batteries because they are rechargeable and have a longer shelf life. Millennial Lithium Corp., Tesla Inc., Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A., Lithium Americas Corp., Ford Motor Company.

The increasing demand for both lithium and cobalt is attributable to portable consumer electronic devices such as phones or laptops. But as EVs become more accessible and auto manufacturers shift to more environmentally friendly options, it is forecasted for EVs to be the largest contributor to both the lithium and cobalt markets. A report by Business Insider quoted a commodity-focused fund manager who explained, "Future demand for cobalt from the EV (electric vehicle) sector is looking tangible and is more positive than originally expected… China has some aggressive plans in terms of electric vehicles. It will be a major driver behind cobalt consumption growth."

Millennial Lithium Corp. (OTCQB: MLNLF) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker. Yesterday the company provided, "an update on its activities at its flagship lithium project, Pastos Grandes, and its Cauchari East project in Argentina.

Farhad Abasov, President and CEO of Millennial commented "Millennial is now well funded with approximately CDN $65,000,000 in its treasury allowing us to fast track our pilot studies and the exploration work on the Remsa ground. Millennial has a strong technical team in Argentina which is expected to expand in the coming months to undertake pond construction and pilot plant construction and commissioning. A Feasibility Study will commence in Q2 2018 and we look forward to continuing to develop and advance the Pastos Grandes Project."

Upon completion of its most recent financing (see press release dated March 13, 2018) Millennial has focused on fast tracking work at Pastos Grandes including process test work being undertaken by SGS Lakefield, alongside on-site pilot pond and pilot plant engineering studies. Requests for Quotations (RFQ) for pond construction have been circulated to qualified firms in Argentina. Receipt of proposals from interested parties is expected in 7-10 days. RFQs for a project Feasibility Study will also be circulated to leading international and Argentine engineering firms in the next several weeks in anticipation of a Q2 start up to this work.

Additional exploration work is also planned for the 2,492 hectares of Remsa claims the Company entered into an agreement to acquire late in 2017. Geophysical studies as well as exploration drilling in support of resource expansion and well-field modeling is planned for April, once final environmental permitting is received. Millennial has completed a second pumping well in the southern portion of the main claim block, where early indications suggest flow rates at this location are similar to the nominal average of 16L/sec used for the planned production wells outlined in the Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) dated February 23, 2018 and filed on SEDAR March 5, 2018 and titled "Preliminary Economic Assessment of the Pastos Grandes Project". Sustainability testing and systematic sampling will commence by early May on completion of the first phase of the pilot ponds. Millennial has engaged Montgomery & Asociados to compile a block model and hydrogeological model for the Company's lithium resource at Pastos Grandes.

In support of the increased activities at the Pastos Grande Project additional infrastructure is in process of being completed. A new camp capable of accommodating 50 people is planned and due to be permitted and installed in the coming weeks. Community relations work is ongoing and once drilling resumes at the project a new fresh water well will be developed for the village of Santa Rosa de Pastos Grandes.

At the Company's Cauchari East Project, permitting continues and has progressed to the final approval stages. The permit is expected to be granted in Q2 2018 with exploration drilling to commence shortly thereafter."

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. Tesla has broken new barriers in developing high-performance automobiles that are not only the world's best and highest-selling pure electric vehicles-with long range and absolutely no tailpipe emissions-but also the safest, highest-rated cars on the road in the world. According to a blog by the Tesla Team in 2017, Tesla and Panasonic begin mass production of lithium-ion battery cells, which will be used in Tesla's energy storage products and Model 3. The high performance cylindrical "2170 cell" was jointly designed and engineered by Tesla and Panasonic to offer the best performance at the lowest production cost in an optimal form factor for both electric vehicles and energy products. Model 3 cell production will follow in Q2 and by 2018, the Gigafactory will produce 35 GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells, nearly as much as the rest of the entire world's battery production combined.

Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM) is an integrated producer and distributor of lithium, iodine, specialty plant nutrients, potassium-related fertilizers and industrial chemicals. On February 28, 2018, the company announced earnings for the fourth quarter of 2017, reporting Revenues for the fourth quarter 2017 totaled US$574.8 million, an increase of approximately 3.8% compared to the fourth quarter 2016, when revenues amounted to US$553.8 million. In January 2018, the company announced that it reached an agreement with CORFO to finish the arbitration processes that started in May 2014. The agreement included a one-time payment of approximately US$20 million that is reflected in the fourth quarter 2017 results. As part of the agreement, SQM is allowed to produce and sell up to 2.2 million MT of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) through 2030, albeit at higher lease payments to CORFO and other associated cost. The new payment structure will become effective, as of the moment the agreement is approved by regulatory authorities in Chile, which we expect to occur during March 2018.

Lithium Americas Corp. (NYSE: LAC), through a Joint Venture with Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM), is developing the Cauchari-Olaroz brine deposit in Jujuy, Argentina. Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Lithium Nevada Corp., the company is developing one of North Americas' largest lithium deposits in northern Nevada. The company intends to become a major supplier of lithium products to the energy storage and electrified vehicle markets. In January, the company provided certain corporate developments. Cauchari-Olaroz continues to progress detailed engineering which, excluding the plant design, is 50% complete and scheduled to be completed this quarter followed by final plant design to be completed in the second quarter of 2018. Construction activities associated with earthworks, roads and well platforms are well underway. Minera Exar has more than 400 employees and contractors working in Argentina. The camp expansion, to add capacity for an additional 400 personnel, is well-advanced, and scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2018, allowing Minera Exar to continue with its development activities as planned.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Recently, the company announced the 2019 Fusion sedan - the first Ford vehicle globally with standard new state-of-the-art Co-Pilot360™ driver-assist technology, plus sleeker styling for all models and greater projected all-electric driving range for the plug-in hybrid Fusion Energi. Based on data generated by more than 23,000 MyFord® Mobile plug-in hybrid customers over several years, Ford estimates the 2019 Fusion Energi will potentially allow up to 80 percent of plug-in customers to drive their typical daily commute on electricity alone, with the support of both home and workplace charging, assuming the vehicle is fully charged daily at home and at work.

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