General Motors says it has "contractually secured" all battery raw materials to meet its goal of establishing annual North American production capacity for 1 million EVs by 2025.
That confirmation came as part of announcements of two supply deals for raw materials, including one with lithium supplier Livent for lithium hydroxide. The material, which will be sourced from South America, will be used in the cathodes of cells for upcoming EVs using GM's Ultium battery system, the automaker said in a press release.
In addition, 100% of Livent's "downstream lithium hydroxide processing" for GM will transfer to North America as part of the deal, the automaker said.
General Motors Ultium batteries
Separately, GM and LG Chem recently announced a long-term supply deal for more than 950,000 tons of cathode active materials (CAM)—including nickel, cobalt, manganese, and aluminum—between the second half of 2022 and 2030. That's enough for "approximately 5 million units of EV production," GM said in a release announcing that deal.
Unlike the deal with Livent, this deal did not include firm plans to localize processing of CAM. GM only said it and LG Chem will "explore" localization by mid-decade.
These deals will support Ultium Cells LLC battery plants, which are being built under a partnership between GM and LG Energy Solution, another division of the South Korean conglomerate. The two companies are up for $2.5 billion conditional loan to help finance construction of those plants under the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program.
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But GM already appears to have been fortunate with its raw-material supply. A strained supply chain and concerns about steeper materials-related EV battery prices has triggered a scramble for companies to secure raw materials.
A series of executive orders from President Biden have helped set the stage for a number of related policies this past year supporting that—and more domestic battery plants. The latter is likely one reason GM is looking toward North American processing of battery raw materials.
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Ford made a similar set of announcements last week about securing battery supply for ramping up EV production over the next several—although it lays out lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries as part of the plan. GM hasn't discussed LFP chemistry, which is less reliant on the scarce metals used in other lithium-ion chemistries.
Volkswagen also just broke ground on its new PowerCo business, which will lead battery production globally and be tasked with securing the supply chain for its EV plans across brands.