US LFP plant to begin production in 2027
The partners has shared more details on their plan for batteries for the HDV segment
A facility to make lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery cells in the US, jointly developed by engine manufacturer Cummins and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers Daimler Trucks and Paccar, is expected to begin production in 2027.
The firms say the battery cells by their joint venture (JV) will offer several advantages compared to other battery chemistries, including lower cost, longer life, enhanced safety and no need for nickel and cobalt raw materials.
“LFP has…a safer battery chemistry. It does not rely on rare earth minerals. It is more durable, it is faster to charge, and it has a better life capability,” says Paccar managing director Preston Feight at his firm’s third quarter results.
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The faster charging claim may raise some eyebrows. Traditionally, faster charging has been seen as a material advantage for competing nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) chemistry batteries.
Cummins subsidiary Accelera, Daimler Trucks and Paccar each have a 30pc share in the JV, while Chinese battery cell manufacturer EVE Energy will serve as the technology partner in the joint venture with a 10pc share.
Paccar expects to invest $600-900mn over the coming three years in the plant, which it sees as key to bringing down costs of its electric models.
“When you create a battery electric vehicle, the cost of the vehicle is highly impacted and influenced by the cost of the battery,” says Feight. “So having it be more vertically integrated is an advantage, we think, for our customers and gives us an ability to control both the energy in the battery as well as the battery energy management system to the vehicle.”
Total investment is expected to be in the range of $2-3bn for the 21GWh factory. The JV will initially target the US EV market and could provide batteries for over 40,000 vehicles/year when at full capacity.
The cells will be used in Paccar and Daimler Truck electric ranges as well as being incorporated into battery packs that Cummins will sell to other EV manufacturers.
“It is really a good opportunity for us and also to stay closely connected with our two partners as we're watching these electrified powertrains develop,” says Cummins CEO Jennifer Rumsey, also speaking at her firm’s third quarter results.
Cummins acquired UK firm Johnson Matthey’s automotive battery systems business in 2018 as it looked to expand its offering in the sector. Its portfolio now includes four battery offerings — the LFP batteries and three nickel manganese cobalt options.
The firm is leading a project to develop a medium-and heavy-duty EV charging network on the Midwest I-80 corridor serving Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio, with the aim of supporting 30pc of the fleet using zero emissions technologies by 2035.