LG Chem and GM have announced a binding agreement for the supply of cathode active material (CAM), a key battery material consisting of processed nickel, lithium and other materials that represents about 40% of the cost of a battery cell.
LG Chem plans to supply more than 950,000 tons of CAM to GM from 2022 through 2030, enough for approximately 5 million EVs. The CAM will be used by Ultium Cells, a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solution, at its battery cell plants in Warren, Ohio; Spring Hill, Tennessee; and Lansing, Michigan.
GM and LG Chem will also explore the localization of a CAM production facility in North America by the end of 2025.
The cathode materials that LG Chem plans to supply are NCMA (nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum) materials, which LG Chem describes as “a product that combines LG Chem’s best material technology and is characterized by its excellent stability and output.” In the latest formulation, aluminum has been added to strengthen stability while decreasing the amount of cobalt used by 70% compared to GM’s previous generation of batteries.
“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,” said Jeff Morrison, GM Vice President, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “LG Chem has demonstrated technical expertise, high quality and mass production capabilities of cathode active materials over the last decade. 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.”
Meanwhile, GM has reached a separate agreement with lithium supplier Livent.
Livent will provide battery-grade lithium hydroxide, made primarily from lithium extracted at Livent’s brine-based operations in South America, to GM over a six-year period beginning in 2025. Over the course of the agreement, Livent will increasingly supply LiOH from its manufacturing facilities in the US, with the goal of transitioning 100% of Livent’s downstream processing for GM to North America.