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GM Will Source, Produce Rare Earth EV-Motor Magnets In U.S.

The date of: 2021-12-13
viewed: 1
source:Forbes wheels

General Motors announced two deals Thursday that will let it domestically source crucial raw materials and parts for the expanding family of battery-electric vehicles GM  will roll out over the coming decade.
GM says it formed strategic partnerships with MP Materials of Las Vegas and Vacuumschmelze (VAC) of Frankfurt, Germany, to supply both rare earth metals like neodymium, as well as the high-power magnets used in EV drive motors. Until now, GM, like its competitors, largely has been dependent upon foreign sources, primarily Chinese. Suppliers and automakers have been criticized for sourcing raw materials from areas that may be using underage workers in dangerous working conditions.
GM, the largest of the U.S. domestic automotive manufacturers, has steadily ramped up both its electric and autonomous vehicle programs, jumping from a planned investment of $20 billion to $35 billion earlier this year. It expects to have at least 30 battery-electric vehicle models on sale globally by 2025 and plans to sell only EVs a decade later.
For products sold in the North American market, GM has now signed more than a dozen deals with suppliers based in the U.S. and Canada. That includes lithium for batteries derived from brine from California’s Salton Sea.
Under the latest deals, MP Materials will provide rare earth metals coming from what is currently the country’s only commercial mine in Mountain Pass, CA. The company also will provide alloys and up to 500,000 finished magnets from a new plant going into Fort Worth, Texas.
Neodymium magnets have other uses, including making car loudspeakers powerful without making them larger. They are currently the most power magnets relative to their size.
GM says it’s the “foundational automotive customer” for the 200,000-square-foot MP Materials Texas facility. That’s about the size of five football fields. The magnets will go into electric motors in more than a dozen models using GM’s Ultium platform, with a gradual production ramp that begins in 2023.
VAC, meanwhile, will also provide finished magnets and plans to set up its own new plant in the U.S., though details haven’t been finalized.
The new Ultium platforms GM has developed use one to three motors each. All told, the two deals are expected to provide all the magnets the company will need, said Shilpan Amin, GM vice president of global product development for purchasing and supply chain.
“Our intent is we will have a fully resilient, sustainable, scalable and cost competitive supply chain for the entire value chain through a North American-focused supply chain to support all of our EV production,” said Amin, during a Thursday teleconference.

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