Chinese and Korean battery makers have signed deals to secure the “multi-billon-dollar” long-term supply of electric vehicle batteries for Swedish car firm Volvo.
Volvo said today the agreements with Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) and LG Chem would ensure supplies of lithium-ion batteries over the coming decade for its next-generation Volvo and Polestar models.
A surplus of cobalt chemicals used to make high-power lithium batteries has seen Chinese refiners switch to producing metal, sending prices down 30% in recent months.
The electric-vehicle revolution is expected to boost demand and prices for cobalt, which is critical to the current generation of lithium-ion technologies. However, such a shift is unlikely to happen until the next decade, when production and sales of electric cars are really seen ramping up significantly.
Volkswagen is investing $100 million to increase its stake in US battery start-up Quantumscape and “accelerate” commercialisation of innovative solid-state battery technology.
VW said the deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will make it Quantumscape’s largest automotive shareholder and will give the car giant a seat on the board.
Arizona-based Sion Power is to launch production of its patented Licerion Ion rechargeable lithium metal batteries by the end of this year from a facility at its base in Tuscson.
The privately-owned firm is targeting the electric vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles market with its “ultra-high energy density” battery tech.
Japanese car giant Toyota has confirmed plans to acquire a 15% stake in Australian-based lithium mining company Orocobre with an estimated investment of AUD292 million ($229m).
The move will help secure stable supplies of a key mineral for future electric vehicle batteries to meet anticipated market demand, Toyota said.