The demand for electric vehicles, including hybrid, full battery and fuel cell powered cars, is growing

Manufacturing battery materials at our site in Changzhou, China
Manufacturing battery materials at our site in Changzhou, China

This trend means there is an increasing need for the batteries to power these vehicles and Johnson Matthey is working to meet this demand by investing in our Battery Technologies business.

Innovations in this field could unlock opportunities for the broader commercialisation of fully electric, zero emission vehicles. There is great scope to create value by making the improvements in battery performance that are necessary for truly competitive battery electric cars.

The cathode challenge

Batteries are made up of various elements, including individual cells which create electrical energy through an electrochemical reaction. Within a cell there is a positive electrode, the cathode, and a negative electrode, the anode. The cathode typically limits overall battery performance, making this the area where there is the most potential for technological improvement. Johnson Matthey is focusing its effort on the development of higher performance cathode materials.

Building on our core strengths

The challenges of this fit well with our core strengths, particularly our expertise in designing and manufacturing advanced functional materials and, through our two recent acquisitions, we are now a major supplier of cathode materials for automotive applications.

These acquisitions brought us expertise in the manufacture of high quality lithium iron phosphate (a material used in cathodes) and long term supply relationships with key cell developers using this chemistry.

We are also busy researching the next generation of battery materials, working closely with customers to gain a broad and deep understanding of their needs to develop bespoke solutions which can make a positive impact on the world.