GM to Make Ultium Components Using America-Sourced Rare Earths

GM Ultium 6 photos
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GM electric motors for Ultium Platform vehiclesGM electric motors for Ultium Platform vehiclesGM electric motors for Ultium Platform vehiclesGM electric motors for Ultium Platform vehiclesGM electric motors for Ultium Platform vehicles
The switch from internal combustion engines to electrically-powered motors is causing major shifts in the way carmakers are doing business. Having witnessed over the past couple of years what supply shortages can do to production plans, most of them are realigning their operations to include the in-house (or at least as close-to-home as possible) production of components.
Being one of the largest car companies in the world, American GM, too, is contemplating an expansion of its operations and partnerships to support the pending arrival of the mighty Ultium powertrain system.

To ensure access to the rare earths it needs for Ultium magnets, for instance, GM announced this week it will enter a partnership with MP Materials, the company which runs the Mountain Pass mine in the Clark Mountain Range, the country’s single active rare earth operation.

Aimed at creating “a fully integrated U.S. supply chain for rare earth magnets,” the partnership will see MP supplying GM with the materials it needs to make elements (including neodymium-iron-boron magnets) of the motors going into a wide range of upcoming electric vehicles, from the GMC Hummer EV to the Silverado EV.

As per GM, at the moment “there is virtually no domestic capacity to produce sintered NdFeB magnets today,” and this deal should ensure “the restoration of the U.S. rare earth supply chain at commercial scale.”

“We are building a resilient and sustainable EV manufacturing value chain in North America, from raw materials to cell manufacturing to electric drive motors and beyond, further accelerating GM’s vision to support a mass market for EVs,” said in a statement Shilpan Amin, GM vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain.

"Our work with MP Materials is another bold step forward that will help ensure that we meet our goal to lead the EV industry in North America in more than just sales.”

The financial aspects of the deal, or the duration of the agreement, were not disclosed. For now, the partnership is just a binding agreement on terms, with a definitive supply agreement expected shortly.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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