General Motors (NYSE: GM) and MP Materials (NYSE: MP) announced today an alliance to develop a fully integrated U.S. supply chain for rare earth magnets used in Electric Vehicle motors. Under the agreement, MP Materials will supply U.S.-sourced and manufactured rare earth materials, alloy and finished magnets for the electric motors used in the GMC HUMMER EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, Chevrolet Silverado EV and more than a dozen models using GM’s Ultium Platform. This starts at lower volumes in 2023 then increases. (Cadillac LYRIC – Taking Back the Luxury EV Lead?; EV Gold Rush – GM, Posco to Build New Plant; GM Ups Bet by $35B in Autonomous, Electric Vehicle Games)
It’s the latest step in the EV sourcing wars that are underway at all automakers since Global Warming requires the conversion of virtually all transportation modes to EVs. Lurking in the background of this issue is a larger national security problem that sees China spending twice as much on research and development as the US. A bill to restore and increase US government sponsored scientific R&D has passed the Senate but is being held up by infighting among Democrats in the House of Representatives, which is representative of our ongoing politically-based dysfunctional government. See David Leonard in the New York Times this morning.
In a separate but interrelated announcement, GM said VAC of Germany will build a plant in the U.S. that will manufacture permanent magnets for the electric motors used in GM’s Ultium Platform. The new plant plans to use locally sourced raw materials. VAC claims to be is a leading global producer of advanced magnetic materials and the largest producer of permanent magnets in the Western Hemisphere with nearly 100 years of experience.
Neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets are vital pieces that enable electric motors to transform electricity into motion. Although development of permanent magnets began in the U.S., there is virtually no domestic capacity to produce sintered NdFeB magnets today, GM said. The collaboration seeks to accelerate the restoration of the U.S. rare earth supply chain at commercial scale with high resiliency and environmental sustainability.
MP Materials owns and operates the Mountain Pass rare earth mine and processing facility in California, the only active and scaled rare earth production site in America. Rare earth materials sourced from Mountain Pass will be transformed into metal, NdFeB alloy and magnets at a new production facility MP Materials today announced it will build in Fort Worth, Texas, delivering an end-to-end, U.S. supply chain.
Previously announced GM supply chain collaborations:
- Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) for lithium
- GE Renewable Energy for rare earth materials for EV motor magnets
- Wolfspeed for silicon carbide for power electronics
- Nucor Corporation for EV structural components
- POSCO for a joint venture to build a processing facility in North America for Cathode Active Material (or CAM)