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    Multi-Year Sustainable and Resilient Cobalt Supply Agreement Entered into by GM and Glencore for Global EV Supply

      A sustainable and resilient supply of Cobalt from Australia is what GM has secured in a multi-year sourcing agreement with Glencore. Who is this company Glencore, why is this important to GM?

    Let's start off by answering the last question asked in the teaser paragraph for this story.

    Why is this important to GM? In a Word, Batteries, specifically the Ultium battery system, part of the Ultium platform.

    2022-GMC-HUMMER-EV-Ultium-052-inside-ultium.jpg   

    To quote the press release from GM and Glencore:

    By the end of 2025, GM plans to have capacity to build 1 million electric vehicles in North America, and has announced a series of actions to create a new and more secure EV supply chain, including projects targeting key EV materials and components:

    • Cathode Active Material (CAM) with POSCO Chemical. GM and POSCO are building a new facility in Quebec, Canada as part of their joint venture to produce CAM for GM’s Ultium Batteries.
    • Lithium with Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) to secure lithium produced by the first stage of its Hell’s Kitchen Project in California.
    • Rare earth materials with GE, to develop a rare earth value chain.
    • Alloy flakes with MP Materials, who will establish the first North American processing site for alloy flakes. The company will then expand into magnet manufacturing around 2025 at its new production facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
    • Permanent magnets with VAC, the largest producer of permanent magnets in the Western Hemisphere with nearly 100 years of experience. VAC will establish a North American footprint to support GM’s magnet requirements starting in 2024, including locally sourced raw materials and finished magnet production.

    In a single world COBALT!

    Snag_793fcb.png

    To understand the importance of this material, it is best to understand that Cobalt makes up only 0.001% of the earth's crust. Well known for its heat-resistant properties and a critical part of Lithium-ion battery cathodes that improve energy density and battery longevity.

    Cobalt is an important metal used in the production of EV batteries as part of the Ultium battery cathodes which will power electric vehicles such as the GMC Hummer  EVs, Chevrolet Silverado EV and Cadillac LYRIQ.

    Glencore is one of the world's largest globally diversified natural resource companies, founded in 1970s as a trading company, it has become a major producer and marketer of commodities, employing 135,000 people world wide.

    Glencore operations comprise of approximately 150 mining, metallurgical and oil production assets.

    Glencore Purpose: 

    to responsibly source the commodities that advance everyday life. We do this by delivering on our strategy to be active at every stage of the commodity supply chain. Our diversity by geography, product and activity, maximizes the value we create for our business and its diverse stakeholders. 

    People are at the heart of our business. That’s why we prioritize safety at all our assets; why we seek to minimize our impacts on the environment and communities; and why we aim to attract employees who strive to be leaders in their field."

    Both Glencore and GM are members of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and Glencore's Murrin Murrin operation conforms to the OECD-aligned Responsible Minerals Assurance Process.

    Jeff Morrison, GM Vice President of Global purchasing and supply chain stated the following:

    “GM and our suppliers are building an EV ecosystem that is focused on sourcing critical raw materials in a secure sustainable manner,”  “Importantly, given the critical role of EVs in reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation sector, this agreement is aligned with our approach to responsible sourcing and supply chain management.”

    GM is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. The Ultium battery platform is a key part to powering everything from the mass-market auto to the high-performance vehicles produced by GM.

    This contract helps GM ensure production of EVs as it delivers more than 1 million a year by 2025 and supports existing technology needs while new all-solid-state batteries are researched.

    GM and Glencore Enter Multi-Year Cobalt Supply Agreement

    Glencore and General Motors enter multi-year cobalt supply agreement

    At a glance (glencore.com)

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    • To expand on this: 2022 Hummer EV Pickup (350 kW) 2024 Genesis GV60 (350 kW) 2024 Genesis GV70 (350 kW) 2023 Genesis G80 (350 kW) 2022 Lucid Air (300 kW) 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV (300 kW) 2022 Audi E-Tron GT (270 kW) 2022 Porsche Taycan (270 kW) 2022 Tesla Model S (250 kW) 2022 Tesla Model X (250 kW) 2022 Tesla Model 3 (250 kW) 2022 Tesla Model Y (250 kW) 2022 Kia EV6 (240 kW) 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 (235 kW) 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 (235 kW) 2022 Rivian R1S (220 kW) 2022 Rivian R1T (220 kW) 2022 BMW iX (200 kW) 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS (200 kW) 2022 BMW i4 (195 kW) 2023 Cadillac Lyriq (190 kW) 2023 Mercedes-EQ EQE (170 kW) 2023 Volkswagen ID Buzz (170 kW) 2022 Polestar 2 (155 kW) 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge (155 kW) 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge (155 kW) 2022 Audi E-Tron (150 kW) 2022 Ford Mustang Mach E (150 kW) 2023 Toyota bZ4x (150 kW) This is a (mostly) complete list of the EVs with a charge rate of 150kw or higher. The reason I picked 150kw is because that's the base charge rate for the V2 version of the Tesla Supercharger and that seems like a minimum standard for vehicles to meet today.  Keep in mind that well over half of Tesla's Superchargers are V2 with probably around 30% being V3 (250kw). V4 (350kw) Super Chargers are brand new and only one is installed in the U.S. as of October of this year... and even then, the Cybertruck is the only Tesla that can suck juice that fast. Additionally, the Kia and Hyundai models on this list and coming in the future have the hardware in them for 350kw charging that will be enabled in a software update in the future. I should also note that it seems like only the big truck-based Ultium products from GM appear to get 300kw+ charging. I know the EValanche will have it as will the Escalade IQ. The Ram REV 1500 is getting 350kw charging as well. The Lyriq is 190 kw as are the Blazer EV and Equinox EV. I think this is shortsighted on GM's part, and they need to bump these to at least the 250kw range. So you can see the list of cars that will charge at a higher speed than a Model 3 at a V2-150kw charger at these new Pilot stations will have a pretty good advantage, and if the driver opts for a 250kw charger on the Tesla network, they'll still get decent speed. It also matters for vehicles with a shorter range.  Of the three Genesis models on the list, only the GV60 can get over 300 miles, and only on the RWD model. The GV70 range is only 235, which is pretty low these days. But if I were buying one, I would be less concerned about the overall range as long as I can go from 10% to 80% (~165 miles) in 18 minutes, as their website claims. This will really fill out the network for state-to-state EV driving.
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