GM and MP Materials enter long-term supply agreement to scale rare earth magnet sourcing and production in US
Battery500 Consortium awarded $75M for Phase 2 of research

GM and Vacuumschmelze (VAC) to build a new magnet factory in US to support EV growth

GM and Vacuumschmelze (VAC) of Germany announced plans for VAC to build a plant in the US that will manufacture permanent magnets for the electric motors used in the GMC HUMMER EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, Chevrolet Silverado EV and more than a dozen other models using GM’s Ultium Platform. The new plant would plan to use locally sourced raw materials. (Earlier post.)

VAC is a leading global producer of advanced magnetic materials and the largest producer of permanent magnets in the Western Hemisphere with nearly 100 years of experience.

We are thrilled to join forces with GM on this journey into an increasingly electrified world, leveraging sustainable clean energy solutions. As VAC’s Permanent Magnet Division is the only industrial scale producer of rare earth permanent magnets in the Western Hemisphere, VAC brings reliable scale and experience to GM’s supply chain. VAC’s deep magnetic materials knowledge and extensive e-mobility technology expertise, in partnership with GM, will enable a cleaner global future for our communities.

—Dr. Erik Eschen, CEO of VAC

The plant is expected to start production in 2024 and create hundreds of new jobs. The location of the facility will be announced at a later date. The finished magnets will be delivered to facilities building EV motors for GM’s Ultium-powered EVs.

Magnets are at the heart of an EV motor. Within the motors, an electric coil generates a magnetic field to push against strong magnets, creating the torque that propels a vehicle’s wheels.

A GMC HUMMER EV powered by GM’s Ultium Platform may have as many as three motors with up to 11,500 lb-ft of torque (15,590 N·m)—all of which is available to the driver on demand. This allows the GMC HUMMER EV to accelerate 0-60 mph in only three seconds.

A non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been completed. GM and VAC expect to finalize definitive agreements in early 2022.

GM has made a number of recent announcements around pursuing a North America-focused, vertical integration strategy for its proprietary Ultium battery platform. By value, GM expects the majority of the Ultium Platform will be sourced, processed or manufactured in North America by 2025.

Previously announced supply chain collaborations include those with:

  • Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) for lithium (earlier post)

  • GE Renewable Energy for rare earth materials for EV motor magnets (earlier post)

  • Wolfspeed for silicon carbide for power electronics (earlier post)

  • Nucor Corporation for EV structural components

  • POSCO for a joint venture to build a processing facility in North America for Cathode Active Material (or CAM) (earlier post)

  • MP Materials for rare earth materials, alloys and magnets (earlier post)



I'm convinced that VAC is making a big mistake when pursuing production Of PMs in combination with rare earths. This makes those PMs expensive and prone to some power loss over time. A satisfactory solution would be to make use of the pseudo-magnetic properties of Graphene which easily excels the forces of conventional PMs. Not only far stronger magnetic fields, but also a considerable reduction of weight and volume would accompany such a strategy.


I am happy to see that GM is both procuring US sources for rare earth materials and building US facilities to make the magnets required for the motors for their electric vehicles. This will make us less dependent on China.


I think that it is far too early to think about using the magnetic properties of graphene. It seems to require extreme pressure and is not that well understood.


I'm convinced that the biggest deterrent for any graphene application was its' horrendous price. With the advent of flash graphene, that price argument has become obsolete.
It is now possible to produce graphene ribbons of indefinite lengths which in turn can be formed into CNTs, plane surfaces, bucky balls etc.. E. g. CNTs with a predetermined diameter and length could be used as a perfect substitute for copper windings.
However, what is still missing, is the machinery to convert those ribbons into those forms suited for their respective applications. That requires patience, diligence and the will to change.


It's the same old story over and over again. The automobile industry was not wiling to change course; moreover they were willing to keep everything at status quo until Tesla disrupted the entire market and forded them to react. It took some time but finally they realized, if they are unwilling to change for the better they will be changed for the worse. As sad as it may appear, this principle has accompanied humanity since they became aware that it actually exists.


"forded": forced - of course.

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