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Tuesday Ticker: May 31, 2022

Toronto, Ontario ⁠⁠— In this weekly Tuesday Ticker, Rivian sees some executive shake-ups amid an already tumultuous year, while another battery tech player sets its sights on Quebec’s cathode active materials (CAM).

Do the Rivian shuffle

Rivian is reorganizing its executive ranks as one of its top manufacturing officers parts ways with the EV automaker.

Via an email to Bloomberg News last Friday, CEO R.J. Scaringe said that Charly Mwangi, the head of Rivian’s manufacturing engineering, has left the company.

As head of Rivian’s manufacturing engineering department, Mwangi helped kickstart the OEM’s manufacturing process, said CNN. 

Rivian’s new chief operations officer, former Magna International Inc. executive Frank Klein, will start on June 1, Scaringe said. 

“This is an important time for our growing business, all of which is happening in an extremely challenging environment,” Scaringe wrote. “We are well-positioned for long-term success, but we must continuously evaluate how we operate.”

Rivian has struggled with supply shortages and manufacturing hiccups since it began producing its new models late in 2021. The electric vehicle startup has been heralded as a competitor to Tesla and became the largest initial public offering last year⁠—but its shares have fallen more than 70 percent this year.

More CAM in Québec

Vancouver-based battery tech firm Nano One has agreed to the purchase of John Matthey Battery Materials Canada and its cathode plant in Candiac, Que. in an approximately $10.3 million deal. 

The deal will see Johnson Matthey’s roughly nine-acre (four-hectare) property in Candiac, a suburb of Montreal, and an on-site plant⁠—which occupies about one-tenth of the site⁠—along with the facility’s equipment and team transferred to Nano One.

Johnson Matthey’s Canadian battery material plant was built in 2012 and produces cathode active material (CAM) for lithium iron phosphate batteries, which are commonly used in EVs made in China but are just now spreading to American models. 

Nano One CEO Dan Blondal said the expanding need for North America-produced CAM will give the company an opportunity to become a leader in the industry.

“Experienced employees are at the core of this deal and will help fast-track Nano One’s learning curve,” he said in a release. “The facility is in Greater Montreal and strategically located in proximity to employees and their families, international airports, major port facilities and is a critical link in the mines-to-mobility initiative.”

Blondal added the Quebec plant is already commercially proven, shipping products to Tier 1 automotive suppliers and a variety of other customers in the last decade. While lithium iron phosphate batteries have taken off in the Chinese EV market in the past couple of years, the technology was first commercialized in Quebec.

Other major players have taken notice of Quebec’s position in the CAM market; in early March, both BASF and Ford announced separate ventures on battery material plants in Bécancour, Que.

 

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