Brazilian mining company is testing ultra-fast charging niobium batteries in a VW bus


RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian mining company CBMM has started to test on Volkswagen electric trucks a niobium-based battery that it claims can be charged way faster than the others in the market, the companies said on Wednesday.

CBMM, backed by Brazilian billionaire family Moreira Salles, which also runs lender Itau Unibanco, hopes the project could help it reach its target of multiplying nearly ninefold its battery unit revenue, to $100 million by 2026, its executives told Reuters.

The company sells niobium products to steelmakers as its main business, but CBMM has been looking to diversify its revenue sources.

It launched on Wednesday at an event in its Araxa plant a prototype of the new ion battery, developed alongside Toshiba and made with lithium and niobium.

CBMM’s executive commercial manager at the battery division, Rodrigo Amado, told Reuters the technology used in the battery allows it to be fully recharged within 10 minutes when used in a electric bus.

A conventional battery takes three to eight hours to be fully recharged, according to the executives.

For now, the product will be tested in just one electric bus from Volkswagen Caminhoes e Onibus, a Brazilian unit from Volkswagen truck division Traton, they said.

The truck in the tests has a range of 60 kilometers (37.3 miles) and would carry four batteries.

CBMM said it intends to sell the product in the market as early as next year.

Executives from the companies involved in the project said the battery could also have an useful life of up to three times longer than conventional batteries, as its techonology would operate in lower temperatures.


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