Vale will supply the equivalent of 25,000 metric tons of nickel sulfate to GM per year from the proposed plant in Bécancour, Québec, Canada. Later this nickel will be used to produce electric vehicle batteries used by the Chevrolet Silverado EV, Blazer EV, Cadillac Lyriq, and many more.
GM hopes to cut the cost of Ultium battery cells to less than US$70 per kilowatt-hour” by the middle to the end of the decade.
Parks said GM is exploring using cheaper lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells to help reduce costs. The company is also testing pure lithium metal and silicon anodes to increase energy storage capacity, as well as solid electrolytes, Parks said.
The agreement with Vale is the latest in a series of deals GM aims to lock in supplies of essential battery minerals as the automaker ramps up electric vehicle production in 2025 and beyond.
Finally, the deal will become pivotal with the passage of the Reducing Inflation Act, which favors EVs built with materials sourced from places like the US and Canada.