Volkswagen Truck & Bus has started operational tests of a prototype electric bus powered with batteries fitted with NTO developed by CBMM together with Toshiba, an unprecedented use in the global automotive industry, as this technology allows for ultra-fast recharging.

Also, according to the partners, the vehicle’s maximum range can be achieved “in just 10 minutes (…) and useful life can be up to three times longer than conventional batteries”.

CBMM, a world leader in the production and commercialization of Niobium products, and Japan’s Toshiba worked for six years as part of collaborative efforts to develop mixed Titanium oxide technology in which Niobium is added to the anode in lithium-ion battery cells, a development known as NTO.

volkswagen cbmm nto battery

NTO battery for Volkswagen electric bus in Latin America

In 2021, the project was expanded through a partnership with Volkswagen Truck & Bus.

Configured on an 18-ton chassis, the prototype bus has an estimated range of 60 kilometers and can be recharged in 10 minutes when a 300-kW pantograph is used.

It is equipped with four packs of lithium batteries in which Niobium is added to the battery’s anode, each with a useful capacity of up to 30kWh.

This technology will be validated and improved during this real operation at CBMM, where the vehicle will run on a daily basis along a fixed route, with recharging on the pantograph scheduled at the beginning or end of the journey, Volkswagen states in a press note announcing the project. The operation will allow data to be obtained on both the characteristics of the NTO battery and the vehicle in order to identify any adjustments needed before future commercializing the product”.

volkswagen cbmm nto battery

The testing period is indefinite and will be defined according to the evolution of the application. Over the medium term, testing is expected to be expanded to a small fleet for validation. At this stage, all components will be monitored in real time to analyze their behavior and support processes aimed at improvement and development of the technology. Only after this phase, it will be possible to determine the next steps to be taken for launch of the electric bus. Batteries fitted with NTO technology are expected to be available on the market in 2025.

Volkswagen: NTO battery for the next generation of e-mobility

“This project is strategic for us to start developing the next generations of e-mobility. Seven years ago, we surprised the market with the first electric truck prototype made in Latin America. Now, we are once again anticipating global trends and seeking to lead the transformation of the industry, with reference partners such as CBMM, which will also support us by receiving our prototype for tests in real operation at its plant in Araxá”, says Roberto Cortes, President and CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus.

volkswagen cbmm nto battery

“We strive to achieve sustainable growth within the Niobium market. For this reason, we are seeking out new applications and technologies for a range of industries. We continue to drive innovations within our primary sector, the steel industry, but have sought to diversify our operations. We expect to see accelerated growth in the battery sector from now on with the development of materials that guarantee increased competitiveness and quality”, explains Ricardo Lima, CBMM’s CEO.


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