DETROIT, Michigan: General Motors has announced that it will construct a new cathode factory in North America for its electric vehicle (EV) batteries, under a joint venture with South Korea's Posco Chemical.
The factory will process cathode active material, which accounts for some 40 percent of the cost of an EV battery cell.
Cobalt is a key component found in batteries, but is the most expensive material used and is mined under harsh conditions
Therefore, GM and other companies, such as Tesla, seek to develop cobalt-free batteries.
"We would like to get out of cobalt altogether and have a zero cobalt situation." said Doug Parks, a GM executive vice president, as quoted by theverge.com.
GM also promised to spend $35 billion on the development and production of 30 new electric vehicle models by 2025, and aims to have greater control of its supply chain, which includes battery manufacturing.
It, therefore, announced it will spend over $4 billion on the construction of two battery factories in North America, in partnership with South Korea's LG Chem.
The new cathode facility will supply battery materials to two factories currently under construction, the Ultium Cells facilities in Lordstown, Ohio, and Spring Hill, Tennessee. GM is also planning to build two more battery cell facilities by 2024.
The majority of EV battery cathodes are made with nickel, cobalt and magnesium. The Ultium batteries will add aluminum, which will reduce cobalt content by 70 percent.