General Motors Co.
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General Motors and GE to Cooperate on Sourcing Rare Earth, EV Materials

Oct. 6, 2021
The industrial giants agreed to help each other find reliable supply chains for magnets first.

Two giants of manufacturing are teaming up on future supply chains for raw materials, including rare earth metals for use in electric vehicles. General Motors and GE Renewable Energy announced October 6 the two companies had signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding to work together on sourcing the materials.

In a statement, the companies named establishing a stable supply chain for vertically-integrated magnets manufacturing in North America and Europe as the collaboration’s initial goal. Later cooperation, the companies said, might include similar supply chains for materials used in EVs and energy management equipment.

GM’s VP in charge of global purchasing, Shilpan Amin, said that establishing resilient and local supply chains for electric car materials is “critical” for GM’s goals. Magnets, key to the functioning of motors, are key, he said: “Motors are one of the most important components of our Ultium Platform, and the heavy and light rare earth materials are an essential ingredient in our motor magnets.”

Amin said the cooperation with GE would help “unlock the potential” for sourcing materials in an environmentally-friendly and cost-competitive way.

“Working with GM gives us another tool to obtain a reliable, sustainable, and competitive source of key materials going forward that will help us lower the cost of renewable energy and drive more electrification by making EVs a more viable option for consumers,” said GE Renewable Energy CTO Danielle Merfeld. “We are also excited to partner with GM to explore opportunities to develop critical supply chains in the U.S. and further reduce CO2 emissions.”

The news comes as many major manufacturers, including automakers like GM, are struggling to source key supplies for their products like semiconductors and metals.

With GM among many automakers pivoting rapidly to develop electric vehicle product lines, the question of where to get materials for batteries and other parts is a timely one. In September, Ford Motors announced it would invest $50 million in a company founded by Tesla Motors co-founder J.B. Straubel that is attempting to make recycling EV materials cost-effective.

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