As the world replaces the use of fossil fuels with more renewable sources of energy, the demand for electric vehicles is increasing. Manufacturers of electric cars are currently focused on securing supply for the raw materials needed to make batteries because batteries are the single biggest cost factor on EVs.
Below, we look at some of the agreements major auto manufacturers have entered into with miners and suppliers.
Toward the end of last year, Volkswagen entered into an agreement with Vulcan Energy Resources, which involves the provision of lithium hydroxide to the automaker from 2026. Vulcan extracts lithium from the Upper Rhine Valley region in Germany.
The German automaker will also receive cathode materials for its battery cell factories from Umicore, a chemical firm based in Belgium. This joint venture is set to begin in 2025.
Tesla, which is the biggest player in the electric vehicle market, also entered into an agreement with Core Lithium in March of this year. This agreement will involve the supply of no less than 110,000 tons of spodumene concentrate for a four-year period. The electric car manufacturer will also begin to receive a supply of battery-grade lithium this year from China-based firm Ganfeng Lithium. Currently, Ganfeng is number three among the biggest suppliers of lithium globally. Last July, Tesla also entered into a nickel supply agreement with BHP Group. Nickel will be sourced from BHP’s plants in Australia.
In addition to this, Stellantis; a multinational auto-manufacturing corporation, entered into a preliminary deal with Vulcan Energy Resources. Vulcan is set to begin supplying thousands of tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide to Stellantis from 2026.
A joint venture between Panasonic and Toyota Motor was also struck to receive a supply of nickel sulphate from BHP Group in October of last year, while Renault, another electric vehicle manufacturing firm, also entered into a supply agreement in November 2021, which involves the supply of battery-grade lithium chemicals by Vulcan Energy Resources. The company is also party to a memorandum of understanding for the supply of nickel sulphate with Finnish cobalt and nickel miner, Terrafame.
Ford is also planning to purchase lithium extracted from the Kachi project in Argentina. The car manufacturing firm has also partnered with Redwood Materials to establish a supply chain for electric car batteries.
General Motors, which has a commitment to have manufactured 30 new international electric vehicles in the next three years, is party to an agreement with Glencore. This agreement involves the supply of cobalt, which will be utilized in the manufacture of General Motors’ Ultium battery cathodes. These cathodes power the Cadillac Lyriq, GMC Hummer EV and Chevrolet Silverado EV vehicles.
We are likely to see other EV sector players, including Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ: NKLA), announce more supply deals for raw materials or other innovative solutions to the raw material shortage.
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