Electric cars: the race to replace cobalt

Most carmakers are moving towards batteries that use more nickel and as much as 75 percent less cobalt. These products are expected to pick up market share over the next few years.

Venkat Viswanathan, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, says cobalt can be reduced using liquid electrolyte chemistries. “Ionic Materials is one pathway to making low cobalt cathodes but a liquid electrolyte pathway is also something that many battery makers are working on and have feasible solutions,” he says.

Yet, even with a shift to lower cobalt batteries, demand for the metal is still expected to more than double by 2025, according to Wood Mackenzie. “Zero cobalt is hard, low is possible, [but] zero is very tricky at this point,” Mr. Viswanathan says.