Through artificial intelligence they will develop cobalt-free batteries for electric motorcycles

New Zealand company UBCO, known for its all-wheel drive electric motorcycles 2 x 2has partnered with the American company Chemix to develop cylindrical cobalt-free lithium cells. Using the technology of Artificial intelligencethe goal is a highly safe and sustainable high-energy battery that eliminates UBCO’s current reliance on the ternary chemistries NCM and NCAwithout compromising the experience of using their products.

In today’s lithium batteries, cobalt is a key ingredient in stabilizing the high energy their chemistry provides. However, it is about a scarce mineral which is mainly extracted from conflictive regions of the world. Furthermore, from an ecological point of view, its high demand has resulted in the eutrophication of ecosystems, increased GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, and unethical mining practices.

Current cobalt-free battery chemistries, generally iron-based (LFP-lithium ferrophosphate), do not offer sufficient energy density for high-performance, long-range vehicles. That is why UBCO, which has high-performance all-wheel drive motorcycles in its catalogue, has chosen to partner with Chemix to create the first high-energy cobalt-free cylindrical battery cell.

The process to remove cobalt from existing battery chemistry, without compromising performance, is not straightforward. The current development of a battery is slow, laborious and expensive. Any innovation requires long development cycles due to the wide variety of possible experimental designs and the slow nature of battery testing. and this is where Chemix AI comes into play, which applies this technology in the same way it is done in drug development. Dr. Kaixiang Lin, CEO and co-founder of Chemix explains that they have managed to develop “a powerful artificial intelligence process that automatically filters and suggests new materials for testing, accelerating the development process of new battery designs.”

UBCO 2x2 Work Bike and Adventure Bike
UBCO’s 2×2 electric motorcycles will feature cobalt-free batteries developed using Chemix Artificial Intelligence technology.

AI makes it possible to reduce development time by 10 times. In addition, Chemix battery designs are compatible with existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing systems, allowing rapid transition from R&D programs to volume production. Chemix also provides UBCO with greater control and transparency over the battery development process and performance. This allows you specify the requirements you need to design the optimal vehicleinstead of designing this around what is available as a standard solution.

According to Colin Godby, Product Manager at UBCO, this is a critical step in pragmatically applying advanced battery technology. According to the manager, this association will help provide a solution to three major challenges in the industry: greater energy capacity, greater autonomy and a cleaner supply chain. “For UBCO, it is really exciting to think that our customers can enjoy our product with a smaller environmental footprint than ever before.”

Chemix has already started research and development based on copper free cylindrical cells in 18650 format (18 mm diameter and 65 mm high) and 2170 (21 mm diameter and 70 mm high). The scalable technology should meet both the demand for UBCO’s 2×2 all-wheel drive electric motorcycles and future 4x4s planned by the brand. Its extension is specified in the association agreement to address reusing batteries and managing their statustaking advantage of Chemix’s capacity focused on data collection and analysis.

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