General Motors and Vacuumschmelze (VAC) to Build a New Magnet Factory to Support EV Growth

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GM’s 180-kW, permanent magnet EV motor will be used for front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive applications.

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General Motors is taking another major step forward in creating a strong, sustainable and scalable supply chain for electric vehicles. Today, GM and VAC of Germany announced plans for VAC to build a plant in the U.S. that will manufacture permanent magnets for the electric motors used in the GMC HUMMER EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, Chevrolet Silverado EV and more than a dozen other models using GM’s Ultium Platform. The new plant would plan to use locally sourced raw materials.

VAC 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.

“We are building a resilient and sustainable EV manufacturing value chain in North America from raw materials to components to drive GM’s growth and support a mass market for EVs,” said Shilpan Amin, GM vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain.  “Our work with VAC is another bold step forward that will help ensure that we meet our goal to lead the EV industry in North America in more than just sales.”

“We are thrilled to join forces with GM on this journey into an increasingly electrified world, leveraging sustainable clean energy solutions. As VAC’s Permanent Magnet Division is the only industrial-scale producer of rare earth permanent magnets in the Western Hemisphere, VAC brings reliable scale and experience to GM’s supply chain. VAC’s deep magnetic materials knowledge and extensive e-mobility technology expertise, in partnership with GM, will enable a cleaner global future for our communities,” said Dr. Erik Eschen, CEO of VAC.

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The plant is expected to start production in 2024 and create hundreds of new jobs. The location of the facility will be announced at a later date. The finished magnets will be delivered to facilities building EV motors for GM’s Ultium-powered EVs.

Magnets are at the heart of an EV motor. Within the motors, an electric coil generates a magnetic field to push against strong magnets, creating the torque that propels a vehicle’s wheels.

A GMC HUMMER EV powered by GM’s Ultium Platform may have as many as three motors with up to 11,500 lb-ft of torque (15,590 Nm) – all of which are available to the driver on demand. This allows the GMC HUMMER EV to accelerate 0-60 mph in just three seconds.

A non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been completed. GM and VAC expect to finalize definitive agreements in early 2022.

GM has made a number of recent announcements around pursuing a North America-focused, vertical integration strategy for its proprietary Ultium battery platform. By value, GM expects the majority of the Ultium Platform will be sourced, processed or manufactured in North America by 2025.

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Previously announced supply chain collaborations include those with:

  • 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)

“All of these agreements reflect GM’s commitment to sourcing low-carbon footprint, ESG-friendly, secure and cost-competitive materials,” said Amin.

GM EV Milestones

  • Invest $35 billion in EV and AV product development by 2025
  • Launch more than 30 EVs globally through 2025
  • Sell more than 1 million EVs globally by 2025, earning EV market leadership in North America
  • Drive first-generation Ultium cell costs 40 percent lower than those used in the Chevrolet Bolt EV; achieve twice the energy density at 60 percent lower cost in the second generation
  • Rapidly scale EV manufacturing, with more than 50 percent of North America and China plants capable of EV production by 2030
  • Double annual revenues from a five-year average of about $140 billion by the end of the decade, expand margins, and grow EV revenue from about $10 billion in 2023 to approximately $90 billion annually by 2030
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