General Motors has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with GE Renewable Energy as the two companies set out to evaluate potential opportunities to improve supplies of heavy and light rare earth materials and magnets, copper, and electrical steel compounds that are used for manufacturing EVs and other renewable energy equipment.
“A secure, sustainable and resilient local supply chain for electric vehicle materials is critical to the execution of GM’s vision of an all-electric future,” said Shilpan Amin, General Motors vice president for Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Motors are one of the most important components of our Ultium Platform, and the heavy and light rare earth materials are an essential ingredient in our motor magnets. The combined scale of GM and GE will enable us to unlock the potential for securing low-carbon footprint, ESG-friendly, secure and cost competitive materials.”
The initial focus of the collaboration will be on creating a North America- and Europe-based supply chain of vertically integrated magnet manufacturing that both companies will use in the future. Metal alloys and finished magnets produced from rare earth materials are critical components used in manufacturing electric motors for automotive and renewable power generation.
GE Renewable Energy Chief Technology Officer Danielle Merfeld said, “At GE Renewable Energy, we constantly innovate, both through our products like the Haliade-X, the most powerful offshore wind turbine built today, as well as by developing strategic collaborations that can help us accelerate the energy transition. Working with GM gives us another tool to obtain a reliable, sustainable, and competitive source of key materials going forward that will help us lower the cost of renewable energy and drive more electrification by making EVs a more viable option for consumers. We are also excited to partner with GM to explore opportunities to develop critical supply chains in the U.S. and further reduce CO2 emissions.”
On a related note, GM and Wolfspeed recently announced a strategic supplier agreement to develop and provide silicon carbide power device solutions for GM’s future electric vehicle programs. Much like the aforementioned rare materials, the silicon carbide will specifically be used in the integrated power electronics contained within GM’s Ultium Drive units in its next-generation EVs, including the upcoming Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV.
General Motors also just announced the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center, an all-new facility that will significantly expand the company’s battery technology operations and accelerate development and commercialization of longer range, more affordable EV batteries.
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