Earlier this year, GM and Korean chemicals company Posco Chemical announced plans to construct a new $500 million battery materials plant in Quebec, which will produce cathode active material (CAM) for GM’s Ultium lithium-ion batteries. Now the automaker has announced a second CAM agreement, this week entering a partnership with LG Chem that will see the Korean company provide up to 950,000 tons of CAM through to 2030.
The CAM material from this supply agreement will be enough for approximately 5 million units of EV production and will be used at the Ultium Cells LLC battery plants in Ohio, Tennessee, and Lansing, Michigan. Ultium Cells LLC is a joint venture company operate by both GM and LG Chem.
“This agreement builds on GM’s commitment to create a strong, sustainable battery raw material supply chain to support our fast-growing EV production needs,” Jeff Morrison, GM vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, said in a statement. “LG Chem has demonstrated technical expertise, high-quality and mass production capabilities of cathode active materials over the last decade. At the same time, this agreement demonstrates GM’s commitment to strong supplier relationships, and compliments our many other recent EV supply chain announcements.”
“Importantly, GM now has contractual commitments secured with strategic partners for all battery raw material to support our goal of 1 million units of EV capacity by the end of 2025,” Morrison added.
The CAM that LG Chem will supply to GM are rare earth materials such as nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum, which represent about 40 percent of the cost of a battery cell. LG says its CAM combines its “best material technology and is characterized by its excellent stability and output,” with aluminum being integrated into its CAM to “strengthen stability while decreasing the amount of cobalt used in GM’s previous generation of batteries by 70 percent.”
Some of the other strategic partners that will supply parts and materials for future GM EVs include MP Materials (rare earth magnets), VAC (magnet factory), General Electric (rare earth and other materials), Wolfspeed (silicon carbide), and Controlled Thermal Resources (lithium).
Between this latest LG Chem announcement, the prior Posco Chemical announcement and other similar supply contracts, GM says it has contractually secured enough battery raw material to produce one million EVs in North America by 2025.