Tuesday, 09 June 2020 18:24

Tesla Addresses Zero-Cobalt Future in Latest Impact Report

Written by Joey Klender, Teslarati


Tesla outlined its goal for responsible cobalt sourcing in its latest 2019 Impact Report, released on June 8.

The automaker plans to eventually produce a zero-cobalt battery for its vehicles and energy products, in its bid to source metals in a responsible fashion that maintains not only the integrity of the company but also the human rights of those involved in the sourcing of raw materials.


“Tesla’s batteries use nickel-rich cathode materials which contain less cobalt than other widely use cathode chemistries in the industry with our ultimate goal being to eliminate cobalt completely from our cells,” notes Tesla in its Impact Report.


Tesla’s lithium-ion batteries use an NCA cathode makeup, comprised of a nickel-cobalt-aluminum structure. The combination of the three metals creates a battery that has longevity and stability throughout the life cycle of the vehicle. Cobalt supplies a battery with high-rate performance and enhances cycle stability when exposed to high levels of heat, according to ScienceMag.


Cobalt, while controversial, is a crucial element in lithium-ion batteries, at least for now. While Tesla continues to work toward the omittance of the element from its batteries, the challenge is finding another metal that can replace cobalt while maintaining the integrity of the battery.


Under a section titled “Supply Chain Introduction: Responsible Material Sourcing,” Tesla addresses and details its Supplier Code of Conduct and Human Rights and Conflict Minerals Policy. The two documents outline the company’s expectations for its suppliers and partners and require all members of the Tesla supply chain to uphold responsible and integrity-focused techniques when acquiring cobalt.


“Tesla is committed to making working conditions in our supply chain safe and humane, ensuring that workers are treated with respect and dignity and that manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible,” the report indicates.


Tesla’s plans to use zero-cobalt batteries are certainly in the company’s future plans. However, while the element is still included in the current battery makeup, responsible sourcing is among Tesla’s main concerns.


Suppliers involved in sourcing cobalt for the electric automaker are required and expected to follow Tesla’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics. Although many of the company’s direct suppliers obtain some raw materials through sub-contractors, Tesla conducts due diligence practices that maintain the safety and respect of workers everywhere.

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