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GM Tries to Guarantee its Battery Supplies During Push for More EVs like the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV

GM inks a new deal to acquire one of the rare metals needed for batteries. COVID has caused a multitude of problems with the supply chain just as most major automakers are scrambling to increase EV output!

GM has repeatedly accelerated its EV timeline pushing to get battery-electric vehicles like the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV to market faster. The 2022 GMC HUMMER EV supertrucks are currently being delivered and the all-new 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ is beginning production. Today, GM announced a new agreement to help guarantee access to one of the rare metals needed for battery production.

GM and a mining company named Glencore are entering into a long-term deal. Glencore will provide the cobalt needed for batteries. Cobalt helps batteries last longer. The cobalt will come from mines located in Australia. The cobalt processed from Australia will be used in GM’s Ultium battery cathodes, which will power electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC HUMMER EV and Cadillac LYRIQ.

“GM and our suppliers are building an EV ecosystem that is focused on sourcing critical raw materials in a secure sustainable manner,” said Jeff Morrison, GM vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Importantly, given the critical role of EVs in reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation sector, this agreement is aligned with our approach to responsible sourcing and supply chain management.”

“We are delighted to announce this collaboration and support General Motors in delivering its electric vehicle strategy,” said Ash Lazenby, Glencore U.S. Cobalt marketer and trader. “Future facing commodities like cobalt play a pivotal role in decarbonizing energy consumption and the electric vehicle revolution. Glencore is already a leading producer, recycler and supplier of these commodities, which underpin our own ambition of achieving net zero total emissions by 2050.”

Automakers and Battery Companies Competing for Rare Metals

According to GM, Cobalt is a metal that makes up only 0.001% of the earth’s crust. It is known for its heat-resistant properties and is added to lithium-ion battery cathodes to improve energy density and battery longevity. GM says it plans to be able to produce 1 million electric vehicles in North America, by the end of 2025. GM has announced a number of partnerships recently to stabilize its supply chain.

GM’s Recent Supply Agreements Include These Components:

  • Cathode Active Material (CAM) with POSCO Chemical. GM and POSCO Chemical are building a new facility in Quebec, Canada, as part of their joint venture to produce CAM for GM’s Ultium batteries.
  • Lithium with Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) to secure lithium produced by the first stage of its Hell’s Kitchen Project in California.
  • Rare earth materials with GE, to develop a rare earth value chain.
  • Alloy flakes with MP Materials, who will establish the first North American processing site for alloy flakes. The company will then expand into magnet manufacturing around 2025 at its new production facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Permanent magnets with VAC, the largest producer of permanent magnets in the Western Hemisphere with nearly 100 years of experience.

As the major automakers scramble to obtain the ingredients used in the EV batteries, prices have skyrocketed. Plus, the world-wide COVID pandemic has disrupted production. GM is taking aggressive steps to guarantee its supplies as well as trying to stabilize pricing. Automakers are already unable to meet surging demand for new vehicles, both with traditional powertrains as well as battery electric vehicles. Long term contracts should help even out some of the issues.

Chevrolet Photo

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