Chinese EV battery manufacturer SVOLT Energy Technology Co., Ltd. Announced today that it has achieved series production of the world’s first cobalt-free EV battery, with vehicles featuring the battery expected to go on sale in the China market. The battery is featured in Great Wall Motors’ ORA Cherry Cat SUV, currently on display at the Chengdu Motor Show.

While manufacturers and consumers increasingly turn to EVs to help address their climate impact, the rapidly growing use of the vehicles present their own sustainability challenges, particularly related to the materials used in batteries. According to SVOLT, more than half of the world’s cobalt are mined in the Katanga Copperbelt in DR Congo, with an estimates 15-20% extracted by artisanal miners and small scale mining operations, raising significant human rights concerns. Additionally, cobalt reserves are very tight, with expectations of supply shortages over the next several years.

Automotive OEMs have been looking to reduce exposure to cobalt as they move to ramp their EV production. Automaker Mercedes-Benz, for example, recently said that it will reduce the cobalt content to less than ten percent in the coming generations of battery cells, and the company intends to dispense with materials such as cobalt entirely through post-lithium-ion technologies with new material compositions.

According to SVOLT, its Cobalt-free Pack can reach a total of 82.5KWh of electricity, energy density of 170Wh/kg , and provide a range of more than 600 kilometers under normal temperature conditions.