Dec 10, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The race for electric vehicle materials

Illustration of three vehicles, one of which has a lightning bolt behind it.

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

This week is bringing fresh signs of intensifying efforts by the world's largest automakers to secure the materials and supply chains needed for the transition to electric vehicles.

Driving the news: General Motors on Thursday announced two deals related to magnets needed for EV motors.

  • One is with the MP Materials, which operates Mountain Pass, the only U.S. rare earth elements mine in California. The plan for a "fully integrated" U.S. supply chain involves materials from the mine and a new MP magnet factory planned for Texas.
  • The other is an agreement with the German company VAC to build a magnet factory in the U.S., though the location was not announced.
  • On the battery front, TechCrunch reports that Volkswagen has "entered into three new partnerships related to electric vehicle batteries, as the German automaker looks to transition its entire portfolio of cars, trucks and SUVs to zero-emission vehicles by 2040."

The intrigue: NBC News notes that these and other deals show that GM is "accelerating its shift away from China and other foreign sources for the key raw materials and components needed."

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