Ford and GM in talks with Posco to invest in metal battery hubs

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(Bloomberg) – Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Stellantis NV are in talks with South Korea’s Posco Chemical Co. about possible investment in factories producing materials for electric vehicle batteries in North America. North, according to people familiar with the matter.

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The factories would manufacture cathodic or anodic active materials – key ingredients in determining the energy density of lithium-ion batteries used in cars – the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. The talks are preliminary and won’t necessarily result in a deal, people say. Posco Chemical is also talking with other automakers about similar investments, they added.

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A Posco Chemical spokesperson declined to comment, while representatives from Ford, Stellantis and GM all declined to comment.

Posco Chemical CEO Min Kyung-zoon told reporters Nov. 1 that the Korean company was in talks with three automakers to build battery materials factories in the United States, without naming them. It already has a relationship with GM, signing a $10.8 billion deal in July to supply battery materials, bringing the total value of its contracts with the maker of the F-150 Lightning pickup to nearly 17. billions of dollars.

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GM is investing $35 billion to make its lineup fully electric by 2035, while Ford is investing $50 billion in its pivot to electric vehicles, with plans to build 2 million a year by 2026. Stellantis, maker of Ram pickup trucks and Jeep off-roaders, is aiming for 75 all-electric models by 2030 with annual sales of 5 million vehicles.

This rapid shift to electric vehicles makes sourcing batteries — and the metals they contain — a key competitive battleground for automakers. In recent months, Honda Motor Co., Ford and Stellantis have teamed up with Korean battery makers LG Energy Solution Ltd., SK Innovation Co. and Samsung SDI Co. to invest billions in North American battery factories.

The race has only intensified as the US government pressures automakers to reduce their reliance on Chinese batteries and materials – a major constraint given that China is home to both largest manufacturers of electric vehicle batteries in the world and is a key source of battery metals such as lithium, cobalt and graphite.

Korean car and battery makers have lobbied against the US measures, included in the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act. Teaming up with U.S. automakers on battery plants could help Posco Chemical comply with the changes, as it will source the materials directly, not produce them in countries that don’t have free trade agreements with them. United States.

—With assistance from Gabrielle Coppola, Keith Naughton and David Welch.


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