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Neodymium is displayed at the Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Hi-Tech Co. factory in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, China.

Nelson Ching | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Mining firm Rare Earths Norway says it has discovered Europe’s largest proven deposit of highly prized rare earth elements, potentially reflecting a watershed moment for both the Nordic country and the broader region.

One of the few deposits not owned or controlled by China, the discovery of continental Europe’s largest rare earths deposit is considered a welcome boost in Europe’s bid to break China’s rare earths dominance.

Demand for rare earths and critical minerals is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years as the clean energy transition picks up pace.

Rare Earths Norway said in a June 6 statement that a mineral resource estimate at its Fen Carbonatite Complex in the southeast of the country boasts 8.8 million metric tons of total rare earth oxides (TREOs) with a reasonable prospect for economic extraction.

Within the TREOs, which are considered vital to the global shift away from fossil fuels, the company says there is an estimated 1.5 million metric tons of magnet-related rare earths which can be used in electric vehicles and wind turbines.

The discovery eclipses a massive rare earths deposit discovered last year in neighboring Sweden.

Alf Reistad, CEO of Rare Earths Norway, told CNBC that the discovery at Fen represents a “great milestone” for the company.

“It is important to state that there is absolutely no extraction of rare earth elements in Europe today,” Reistad said via videoconference on Monday.

One of the aims of the Critical Raw Materials Act is to extract at least 10% of the EU’s annual demand for rare earths by 2030 and Rare Earths Norway says it hopes to contribute to that goal.

Rare Earths Norway said the rare earths deposit in Telemark, roughly 210 kilometers (130 miles) southwest of Oslo, is likely to underscore Norway’s position as an integral part of Europe’s rare earth and critical raw material value chain.

Rare earths ‘more important’ than oil and gas

The International Energy Agency has said that today’s supply falls short of what is needed to transform the energy sector. That’s because there is a relatively high geographical concentration of the production of many energy transition elements.

Most rare earth elements are located in China, with the world’s second-largest economy estimated to account for 70% of global rare earth ore extraction and 90% of rare earth ore processing.

China was the EU’s largest partner for imports of rare earth elements in 2022, accounting for 40% of overall imports based on weight.

Workers transport soil containing rare earth elements for export at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China October 31, 2010.

Stringer | Reuters

Looking ahead, Rare Earths Norway said that exploration work at the complex will continue, with further drilling scheduled for next month. The company said it is working to develop the first stage of mining by 2030.

Asked whether he believed the discovered resources could be considered of more value than Norway’s oil and gas supplies, Rare Earths Norway’s Reistad replied, “Not of more value but [European Commission President] Ursula von der Leyen has stated that lithium and rare earth element will soon be more important than oil and gas.”

“So, it will be more important but not have the same value, of course,” he added.

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Nissan feels the heat from BYD’s EV price war in China

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Nissan feels the heat from BYD's EV price war in China

Nissan is the latest victim of BYD’s “liberation battle” against gas-powered cars. After BYD’s aggressive price cuts this year, Nissan is shutting down a factory in China as it struggles to keep up.

As is the case for many legacy automakers, China is a critical sales market for Nissan. Nearly a third of Nissan’s global sales and net profits are from China.

After slipping out of the top five automakers (by market share) in China in 2022, Nissan’s woes are worsening. Nissan’s sales fell 16% in China last year and the trend has continued into 2024.

Nissan’s sales fell another 2.8% last month, with 64,233 vehicles sold in China. The company cut guidance by 23% last year, with 800,000 vehicle sales expected in fiscal 2024. According to Nikkei, Nissan will do so with one less factory.

Nissan is closing the doors to its plant in Changzhou as the factory is building more cars than it can sell.

The facility accounts for about 8% of Nissan’s production capacity in China, with an annual capacity of around 130,000 units. According to the report, the plant shuts down on Friday.

Nissan-BYD's-EV
Nissan Ariya electric SUV (Source: Nissan)

Under its joint venture with China’s Dongfeng Motor, Nissan has eight plants in the region. Its total annual capacity is around 1.6 million, double Nissan’s projected sales figures for fiscal 2024.

Nissan shuts down China plant amid BYD’s EV price war

The plant shutdown comes as Nissan struggles to keep up in an increasingly competitive China EV market.

China’s largest automaker, BYD, kicked off a “liberation battle” against ICE vehicles earlier this year. The goal is to continue taking market share from gas-powered cars with lower-priced EVs. So far, it seems to be working.

Nissan-BYD's-EVs
BYD (Dolphin Mini) Seagull EV (Source: Nissan)

BYD has drastically cut prices while introducing lower-priced EV models. Its cheapest, the Seagull EV, starts under $10,000 (69,800 yuan).

BYD’s CEO, Wang Chaunfu, said EVs have entered “the knockout round” and that the next two years will be critical for automakers to catch up.

With lower-priced, more advanced models hitting the market, BYD sees joint venture brands (like Nissan’s) market share falling from around 40% to 10% in China.

Nissan isn’t the only legacy automaker feeling the heat. Japanese rivals Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Honda have also pulled back in China amid slumping sales.

Nissan-BYD's-EV
Nissan EV concepts (Source: Nissan)

Meanwhile, BYD looks to expand its global footprint after outgrowing China’s EV market. BYD is closing in on a deal for a plant in Mexico that would be among the biggest in the country. The company expects to sell 50,000 vehicles in Mexico this year.

BYD is also expanding on Nissan and Toyota’s home turf. According to data from the Japan Automobile Importers Association, BYD accounted for over 20% of Japan’s EV imports in January.

With longer-range, lower-priced models rolling out, BYD’s momentum is expected to continue. China’s leading automaker is also expanding into new segments like pickups (check out the new Shark PHEV), mid-size electric SUVs, and luxury.

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Tesla Model 3 Long Range costs $3,200 more to finance than last week

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Tesla Model 3 Long Range costs ,200 more to finance than last week

Tesla scrapped promotional financing on the Model 3 Long Range this week after it became eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit.

As Electrek reported on June 17, Tesla and the IRS confirmed that the Model 3 Long Range All-Wheel Drive is now eligible for the full tax credit. Today, Tesla is pricing the EV’s upfront purchase price at just $34,990 – $1,000 more than the Model 3 Rear Wheel Drive – including the federal tax credit and an estimated five-year gas savings of $5,000.

The Model 3 Rear Wheel Drive still doesn’t qualify for the federal tax credit because it uses LFP battery cells from China.

The Model 3 Long Range is now listed at 6.39% APR on loans up to 72 months. The Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive continues to offer 1.99% APR for 36 months with a 60-month option at 2.99%.

Even though the Model 3 Long Range is now $7,500 cheaper, the higher interest rate is a bit of a party pooper, as it eats up potential savings. The folks at CarsDirect estimated that on a five-year loan, thanks to the 6.39% interest rate, the Model 3 Long Range has more of a $4,200 advantage than a $7,500 advantage.

If you’re eligible for the federal tax credit, the Model 3 Long Range is cheaper than before but costs around $3,200 more to finance through Tesla than last week. CarsDirect suggests comparing your options carefully if you’re shopping for a Model 3 Long Range. 

Click here to find a local dealer that may have the Model 3 in stock –affiliate link


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Utah is getting 20 ‘hyper-fast’ Electrify America EV charging stations

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Utah is getting 20 'hyper-fast' Electrify America EV charging stations

Electrify America and electric utility Rocky Mountain Power have rolled out the first of 20 DC fast charging stations in Utah.

Electrify Commercial, a business unit of Electrify America, and Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp, are deploying more than 80 chargers at 15 DC fast charging stations in the Salt Lake City area and five DC fast charging stations in surrounding regions.

So far, four charging stations have come online in Millcreek, Vernal, Moab, and Kimball Junction.

Rocky Mountain Power, the only rate-regulated public utility providing electric service in Utah, will own the new charging stations. Each will have “hyper-fast” chargers capable of speeds up to 350 kW. The utility will set the pricing and Rocky Mountain Power utility customers get a discounted rate.

Since 2016, Rocky Mountain Power has installed more than 120 DC fast chargers in Utah and completed an electric highway corridor along I-15, Utah’s primary and only north-south interstate highway. It’s also facilitated the installation of more than 3,000 Level 2 chargers for workplaces, retail, and multifamily housing. The utility is spending $50 million to install EV charging infrastructure across Utah.

All 20 of Utah’s new DC fast charging stations will be on Electrify America’s coast-to-coast “locate a charger” map, which includes more than 950 stations and over 4,250 chargers in the US and Canada. Drivers will be able to access and pay for charging on Rocky Mountain Power’s chargers through the Electrify America mobile app.

Read more: Here’s what Electrify America’s EV charging plans are for 2024


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Your personalized solar quotes are easy to compare online and you’ll get access to unbiased Energy Advisers to help you every step of the way. Get started here. –affiliate link*

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