Baotou Mingming Unveils Capacitor-Type NiMH Battery for Electric Buses

Jan. 24, 2019

First batch delivered to domestic market

In November 2018, Baotou Mingming Rare Earth New Power Technology (“Baotou Mingming”) delivered to market the first batch of its proprietary capacitor-type NiMH batteries for use in battery electric buses.

Coming into 2019, Baotou Mingming has capacity to produce 2,000 electric bus batteries annually and plans to ramp up to 10,000 units per annum by year end.

Charges in 8 minutes, drives for 80 kilometers

As reported by Baotou Daily, the company claims its battery is safe, long-lasting, fast-charging, temperature-resistant, recyclable, and offers attractive price-performance. For example, a battery for an electric bus takes 8 minutes to fully charge and delivers a driving range of 80 kilometers (50 miles) – more than sufficient for a densely-populated city route.

Prior to hitting markets in November 2018, five of Baotou Mingming’s capacitor-type NiMH batteries were field tested in electric buses operating along the Baotou 64 bus line and, according to Baotou Daily, operated non-stop for 17 months and 437,000 kilometers (271,500 miles).

A proud accomplishment for China and a boost for rare earth demand

The development and commercialization of Baotou Mingming’s capacitor-type NiMH battery is significant for two reasons.

First, it marks a major accomplishment for a Chinese NiMH manufacturer. Up until now, NiMH batteries made by Japan, Germany, the U.S., and others have dominated the mainstream passenger HEV market, while China’s NiMH’s have seen little-to-no use. But now, China (by way of a Chinese manufacturer) has developed a new-and-improved type of NiMH battery that’s amenable to use in full-on battery electric vehicles, not just hybrids, whilst harboring the world’s largest electric bus market into which it can deploy its new ‘made in China’ technology.

Second, it represents a much-needed new demand driver for China’s light rare earth elements (lanthanum and cerium), which are produced in surplus in China, and used abundantly in AB5 (and AB2) anode in NiMH batteries. Considering an electric bus can easily host a 75 to 150 kWh battery, every bus that incorporates a Baotou Mingming battery going forward would use the same amount of light rare earth elements (and nickel) as approximately 50 to 100 Toyota Prius Hybrids.

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