At the beginning of the third quarter, the BMW Group signed a long-term contract with the Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) to supply battery cells with a value of four billion euros. The award of this contract was a decisive factor in CATL’s decision to build an advanced battery cell manufacturing facility in Germany. (Earlier post.)
From 2021 onwards, cells for the BMW iNEXT—which will be manufactured at the BMW Group plant in Dingolfing—will be supplied by the new CATL plant in Erfurt. The BMW Group has thereby anchored the entire e-mobility value chain in Germany—from battery cell production through to the finished vehicle.
One of the prerequisites for expanding e-mobility volumes on this scale is the ability to efficiently manage the highly sought-after raw materials needed to manufacture the battery cells. In order to ensure security of supply, the BMW Group will in future purchase specific raw materials such as cobalt itself, and then make them available to battery cell suppliers—a strategy that has already proven its worth for aluminium and other resources.
In addition, negotiations are being held with suppliers with the aim of concluding long-term agreements for battery raw materials that meet the BMW Group’s sustainability criteria.
Furthermore, the BMW Group is establishing a joint technology consortium together with Northvolt and Umicore, thereby taking a further step to ensure access to the cell technology so vital for electric mobility.
The collaboration will extend to the development of a complete, sustainable value chain for battery cells in Europe, including development, production and ultimately recycling.
The recycling of battery components will play a key role: given the sharp rise in demand for battery cells, the consortium’s stated aim is to close the life-cycle loop of raw materials to the greatest possible extent with comprehensive recycling.