GM and its partner POSCO Future M have announced plans to take their Ultium CAM cathode active material joint venture in North America to a new and more intensive phase.
Specifically, the partners intend to invest an additional $1 billion in North American battery materials production, including a new CAM and precursor facility able to supply cathode materials for 360,000 EVs per year.
The CAM produced by the complex will be used to process battery materials for all of GM’s major brands and subsidiaries, according to the automaker. These include the familiar four passenger car brands of Buick, Cadillac, Chevy, and GMC, plus The General’s commercial EV brand BrightDrop.
GM says the new plant will process the precursor materials for CAM in addition to producing the CAM itself. The automaker notes that cathode active material is currently produced mostly in Asia, but that the planned facility will help to develop the battery material supply chain in North America. It also states CAM accounts for about 40 percent of an EV battery’s cost.
GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain Doug Parks says that building the CAM production complex will be a “significant step in building a more secure and sustainable North America-focused supply chain to support GM’s fast-growing EV production needs.”
The site for the new facility hasn’t been chosen yet beyond being located somewhere in North America. GM’s partner POSCO Future M, a chemical manufacturer from South Korea, is the majority owner of the joint venture.
GM and Posco Future M launched their partnership in March 2022, when the two companies reached a non-binding agreement to build a joint CAM production plant in Québec. Workers broke ground on the plant in February 2023, pouring the concrete foundation to ready the site for installation of the steel building structure.
The Ultium CAM cathode production complex in Québec will cost in excess of C$600 million to construct and is expected to be operational by 2025. The Canadian federal and Quebec provincial governments plan to loan C$150 million apiece for the facility’s construction, covering about half of the total cost.
In pursuit of its electrification plans, GM developed its Ultium batteries, electric GM Ultium Drive motors, and highly scalable BEV3 platform first, laying the groundwork from which it can now rapidly expand EV production by opening new manufacturing facilities.
A North American supply of cathode materials will likely help it achieve its EV goals. These include introduction of 30 new electric vehicles worldwide by 2025, with EVs in one third of automotive segments – including the popular segments accounting for 70 percent of auto sales – by the same date.
GM aims to achieve annual EV sales of over 1 million units total by 2025 in North America and China.