Volvo, Bombardier, McLaren, Aston and others halt production
Aston Martin has announced that i...
Aston Martin, McLaren, Morgan and Volvo halt production as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread.
Aston Martin has announced that it will temporarily suspend all manufacturing operations at its Gayden, Newport Pagnell and St Athan plants in the UK, following the Prime Minister’s call for non-essential businesses to temporarily shut down. The plants are currently scheduled to reopen 20 April 2020, but this date may change as the pandemic develops.
CEO Andy Palmer said that “it is our responsibility to ensure we do all we can to support the government’s efforts in slowing the spread of Covid-19 over the coming weeks.”
He added: “I hope and believe that our national fight against this dreadful virus will be successful, and as soon as we have the ability, we will, of course, return to normal operations.”
McLaren's plant in Woking, UK, and its carbon-fibre component production site near Sheffield has also suspended manufacturing until the end of April at the earliest.
McLaren announced in its statement that it was “taking this action to ensure the safety of our workforce in light of the latest government advice and so that the company is well placed to resume operations as smoothly as possible in the future.”
Meanwhile, over in Stockholm, Poland, Volvo car corporation has confirmed that a majority of its manufacturing plants are closed. As the virus continues to hit economies across the world hard, the manufacturer has assessed that there will likely be a weaker demand for its products and services, and as a result, this could have a negative impact on the group's financial development.
Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said: "The board is closely monitoring the development and how this very difficult situation that the world finds itself in will affect the Volvo Group and in particular the demand for its products and services."
Other plants in Europe
Morgan, a company that specialises in sports cars, has also closed its Malvern factory. A spokesperson reported: “We have made the decision to close our factory for the next four weeks to minimise any movement of staff and partners.”
Canadian company Bombardier has also announced that it has closed its plant in Belfast, Northern Island, in order to comply with the aforementioned governmental restrictions. The Belfast plant will suspend operations for four weeks, pending review after. The company's senior leadership team has agreed to forego any pay during this period. Bombardier will also suspend its financial guidance for 2020 in order to evaluate the impact of the pandemic.
“Since the coronavirus outbreak, the company has been focused on keeping our employees safe, serving our customers to the best of our ability during these difficult times, and taking the necessary actions to protect our business for the long term,” says Bombardier chairman Pierre Beaudoin.
“In addition to the actions announced today, Bombardier has cut all discretionary spending, is continuing the work on closing the previously announced transactions, and is pursuing additional measures to enhance liquidity.”
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.