General Motors boosts EV supply chain with circular economy partnership

Automotive manufacturer General Motors (GM) has announced a series of investments and strategic partnerships to boost the circularity of its battery supply chains.

GM has formed  a partnership with Lithion, a battery manufacturer making use of recycling technology to pursue a circular electric vehicle (EV) battery ecosystem. 

The collaboration will explore the potential for the use of Canada-based Lithion's recovered battery materials for use in the production of new batteries, and the potential to acquire battery materials. The companies also intend to research and develop recycling processes and recyclability for future battery designs.

The move follows a series of EV and battery supply chain developments for GM to expand manufacturing capabilities.

With a recovery rate of over 95% and using Québec's green energy – almost all the province's power is renewable, Lithion's technology and operations will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 75% and water usage by over 90% compared to mining battery materials, according to a third-party lifecycle analysis.

Jeff Morrison, GM vice president of global purchasing and supply chain, said: “GM is aggressively scaling battery cell and EV production in North America to reach our target of more than 1m units of annual capacity by 2025, and we plan to eliminate tailpipe emissions from all our new light-duty vehicles by 2035 – so we are building a supply chain and recycling strategy that can grow with us.

“In Lithion's technology, we see the opportunity to recover and reuse raw material in our Ultium battery packs, making the EVs we produce even more sustainable and helping drive down costs.”

Last week, GM announced a $760m investment in an EV propulsion-drive manufacturing plant in Ohio in preparation for its new electric truck rollout. Earlier this month the carmaker also announced a $491m investment in a steel production facility in Indiana, preparing for a variety of stamped metal products used in EVs and other vehicles.

GM has also agreed with car rental company Hertz to supply up to 175,000 EVs over the next five years, as Hertz increases the EV component of its fleet. Hertz estimates that its customers could travel more than 8bn miles in these EVs, saving approximately 1.8m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions compared to similar gasoline-powered vehicles traveling such a distance. The company's current goal is for a quarter of its fleet to be electric by the end of 2024.

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