General Motors is speeding up its shift away from China and other foreign sources for the key raw materials and components required for the millions of battery-electric vehicles it intends to carry out over the coming decade.
GM declared the most recent of more than a dozen deals Thursday, saying it will buy uncommon earth metals from the only remaining commercial mine in the U.S., while two new plants will give the high-power magnets required for its electric vehicle motors. Presently, completed magnets and raw materials, like neodymium, are obtained generally from China.
“Our intent is we will have a fully resilient, sustainable, scalable, and cost-competitive supply chain for the entire value chain through a North American-focused supply chain to support all of our EV production,” said Shilpan Amin, GM’s VP of global product development, buying and supply chain.
The principal “strategic collaboration” declared Thursday sets GM and MP Materials, the California-based organization that works the only commercial U.S. uncommon earth mine, in Mountain Pass. MP, which will give raw and processed minerals, will likewise set up a factory in Fort Worth, Texas, to produce an adequate number of magnets for up to 500,000 electric motors every year.
Independently, GM said it is concluding the subtleties of an agreement with Germany’s Vacuumschmelze, or VAC, to supply uncommon earth minerals, as well as the completed magnets. VAC will likewise set up a U.S. magnet factory for GM, with the location to be reported one year from now.
“VAC’s deep magnetic materials knowledge and extensive e-mobility technology expertise, in partnership with GM, will enable a cleaner global future for our communities,” Erik Eschen, VAC’s CEO, said in a statement.
Amin said the two deals are relied upon to make “hundreds” of jobs and give an adequate number of magnets to every one of the motors GM will require going ahead.
Past deals have spread out plans for GM to source raw minerals to complete components from suppliers in the U.S. and Canada. That is a basic move, said analyst Stephanie Brinley of IHS Markit. It would decrease dependence on conceivably problematic trade partners, similar to China, yet additionally, minimize the risk of supply chain disruptions. Deficiencies of foreign-made semiconductors have injured U.S. automotive manufacturing this year, bringing about void dealer parts and billions of dollars in lost industry revenues.
The auto industry, in general, is moving from internal combustion to battery technology. GM has one of the industry’s most forceful change plans. CEO Mary Barra this year raised GM’s planned spending on energized and autonomous vehicles from the target of $20 billion declared last year to a new goal of $35 billion. It is relied upon to offer something like 30 pure battery-electric vehicles to market by 2025. It intends to abandon gas and diesel vehicles totally by 2035.
GM’s first long-range battery-electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Bolt, came to market in 2016. It is simply launching the GMC Hummer EV, with the Cadillac Lyriq to continue in mid-2022. The Hummer pickup and the Lyriq SUV will use a completely new Ultium platform and batteries expected to yield a longer range, faster charging, and lower costs.
One of the greatest worries for automakers is guaranteeing a supply of raw materials like neodymium, cobalt, nickel, and lithium. Lithium could demonstrate progressively hard to track down, a few specialists dread, as the production of batteries increases. GM desires to cover future necessities through another joint endeavor reported for the current year. The project will filter lithium, a lightweight metal, out of water drawn from California’s Salton Sea Geothermal Field.
GM has declared four U.S. battery plants up to this point. The first, in Lordstown, Ohio, is powering up the new Hummer pickup.
“Fundamentally, our strategy is to control our own destiny,” Amin said.