From The Mobilist Inbox This Week

Blood feud, gigafactory chronology, useless batteries and new podcast

Each Wednesday, The Mobilist highlights reader articles on Medium, comments, and updates.

The South Korean battery blood feud: This week, I wrote about the coming deadline Saturday for President Biden to decide whether to side with LG Chem and stop SK Innovation from supplying lithium-ion batteries from a new plant in Georgia. The batteries would be for Ford’s coming electric F-150 pickup and VW’s SUV crossover ID.4. The International Trade Commission ruled that SKI stole trade secrets from LG in order to invent its battery, a position that SKI vehemently denies. Then last week, a separate ITC judge decided that SKI hadn’t violated LG patents. Do the different rulings possibly color any reading of the dispute? LG told me no — the cases are wholly different. But Sturgis Stobin, a lawyer for SKI, disagreed.

Stobin emailed me:

“We do believe it changes the narrative in a significant way because it demonstrates that 1) SKI’s technology is distinct from LG’s, and 2) when SKI was given a chance to defend itself on the merits of LG’s IP allegations, those allegations failed. We are asking [the U.S. Trade Representative] to disapprove the ITC remedies. If the trade secret claims are to be litigated in the U.S. (we think it should have been resolved in Korea, where the alleged wrong-doing took place), we strongly believe that the [U.S.] District Court is the right place. Unlike the ITC, a District Court has the ability to award damages. This is particularly important in a case like this in which LG has said monetary damages will address its harm. If so, why should the 2,600 jobs be lost and SKI plant closed? It makes no sense from a national perspective given this Administration’s stated policy priorities.”

Lots of gigafactories: Mobilist reader Simon Moores tweeted an extremely cool interactive produced by Hanisha Tirumalasetty, an analyst at his firm, Benchmark Minerals. It’s a moving timeline of the construction of gigafactories, from the very first to today’s planned 200. It’s a keeper and recommended viewing.

Allegedly useless batteries: In their comic column “Just Rankin’ Shit,” my colleagues at Level had some fun this week claiming that not one, not two, but six separate types of household batteries have become useless. As is their want, they ranked them.

A podcast appearance: I appeared this week on Bill Nussey’s Freeing Energy podcast. It was a lot of fun.

Editor at Large, Medium, covering the turbulence all around us, electric vehicles, batteries, social trends. Writing The Mobilist. Ex-Axios, Quartz, WSJ, NYT.

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