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GM Ultium battery, courtesy GM.


General Motors & Livent Enter Long-Term Lithium Hydroxide Supply Agreement

GM and Livent announced today a multi-year sourcing agreement in which Livent will supply GM with battery-grade lithium hydroxide manufactured from lithium obtained at its brine-based sites in South America. Lithium hydroxide is important for GM’s plans to develop more powerful, longer-lasting electric vehicles. The batteries that will be powered by Livent’s lithium hydroxide will be used in GM’s new battery cell plant currently being built in Ohio.

“We are building a strong, sustainable, scalable and secure supply chain to help meet our fast-growing EV production needs,” said Jeff Morrison, GM vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “We will further localize the lithium supply chain in North America over the course of the agreement. In addition, it is aligned with our approach to responsible sourcing and supply chain management and demonstrates our commitment to strong supplier relationships.”

GM will get battery-grade lithium hydroxide from Livent for the next 6 years. Over the term of the contract, Livent will progressively supply GM with battery-grade lithium hydroxide from its facilities in the United States, with a goal of turning 100% of Livent’s downstream lithium hydroxide processing for GM over to North America.

Both GM and Livent are dedicated to sustainable supply chains and responsible operations through industry and multi-stakeholder platforms. General Motors is a member of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), joined the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) in 2021, and plans to become carbon neutral in global products and operations by 2040. Livent is actively engaged in an IRMA third-party assessment, has a gold rating from EcoVadis for sustainability and has announced a goal of overall carbon neutrality by 2040.

“We are excited to begin this long-term relationship with GM, one of the most iconic brands in the automotive industry and a leading force in the transition to electrification,” said Paul Graves, president and chief executive officer of Livent. “With a shared commitment to sustainability and responsible operations, we look forward to building a broad partnership that will support GM’s electric vehicle strategy, its supply chain goals and the future requirements of its growing EV fleet for reliable, high-performance lithium products.”

GM will talk about the agreement during its earnings call, and Livent will do the same as part of its upcoming second quarter 2022 earnings call on August 2.

Livent is a fully integrated lithium company with a long and proven track record of producing high-quality performance lithium compounds. For almost 8 decades, Livent has worked with its clients to safely and sustainably employ lithium to drive the world.

Why This Matters

It seems like every company announces battery supply deals constantly these days, but for the people following the topic closer, it can be interesting watching the puzzle pieces come together and see manufacturers secure suppliers for battery chemicals.

Optimists see that seemingly impossible goals could be achieved with enough electric cars on the road, while others find it hard to see how all these companies will get the lithium, cobalt, and other minerals they need to make those batteries. Pessimists see this shuffle and think that maybe we’re just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic as it sinks.

As these deals get shaken out, demand for more materials could increase production to make climate goals a lot more attainable.

Featured image by GM.

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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.


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