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Why substitution is not easy in the battery metal space

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Innovation is relentless in the electric vehicle space, particularly around material substitution due to worries about reliability of supply, but original equipment manufacturers need time to adjust to new processes, said Dr. Soroush Nazarpour, founder and CEO of NanoXplore (TSE:GRA).

On Friday Nazarpour recorded Kitco Roundtable with Mining Audiences Manager Michael McCrae, Kitco correspondent Paul Harris and editor Neils Christensen.

NanoXplore is a graphene company, a manufacturer and supplier of graphene powder for use in industrial markets with applications in transportation, packaging, pipe, film, electronics. The company is up 186% to $7.88 a share in the past year.

This week Tesla said it is changing the battery cell chemistry that it uses in its standard range vehicles, opting for lithium-iron-phosphate that will cut material cost.

Substitution is a concern for battery metal producers, but Nazarpour explains that it takes time for OEMs to adjust.

"It's a long process. Normally it takes two to three years for OEMs to be able to change a material," he said, explaining that new materials have to be validated and the supply chain needs to be tested.

Nazarpour illustrates with his own company, which he said has sizable market share.

"It's a good thing and a bad thing because if we can not supply, there's no second player in the market that can bring confidence to an OEM."

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