FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen, Europe’s top carmaker, on Tuesday intensified efforts to secure access to key battery materials lithium, nickel and cobalt by striking a cooperation agreement with top supplier Canada.
The move comes as Volkswagen rolls out its electric vehicle expansion strategy globally and aims to overtake Tesla as the sector leader, a strategy that depends on sufficient supply of vital battery materials.
No financial details were disclosed for the memorandum of understanding (MoU), which was signed during a visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and a delegation of German corporate representatives.
“The supply of battery raw materials and the production of precursor and cathode materials with a low carbon footprint will allow for a fast and sustainable ramp-up of battery capacity – a key lever for our growth strategy in North America,” outgoing Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess said.
Volkswagen aims to build, with partners, six large battery cell factories in Europe by 2030 with a capacity of around 240 gigawatt hours, as well as a dedicated factory in North America for which it is currently examining potential sites.
Under the agreement with Canada, Volkswagen aims to deepen cooperation with Canada’s mining sector and could even become a shareholder in local mining firms to make sure it is first in line when it comes to supply.
The MoU also includes the production ramp-up of so-called cathode materials, which include nickel cobalt aluminium (NCA) oxide and nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) oxide.
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz, Editing by Miranda Murray)