Leading US automaker Ford recently announced that it has secured long-term supplies of battery-grade lithium for its electric vehicle (EV) production sector by way of two major lithium producers: Albemarle and Latin America’s Sociedad Quimica y Minera (SQM.)
This joint initiative is meant to enable the American auto pioneer to step up its game with regard to EV production and cement its position as a leader in the clean transportation scene.
A Five-Year Deal
For its part, Albemarle committed to deliver over 100,000 tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide between 2026 and 2030 in order to help Ford ramp up its EV production.
The said supplies are to be produced domestically in the United States or in nations that have a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the US per the requirements under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA.)
Aside from lithium hydroxide, Albemarle will also engage in several collaborative initiatives with Ford to develop closed-loop solutions for recycling lithium-ion batteries.
SQM, on the other hand, will also supply Ford with lithium carbonate, as well as lithium hydroxide, from its own holdings in Chile. However, the company has yet to disclose just how much it will deliver in terms of supplies, along with its timeline.
Gaining a Lead on China
With every country in the world scrambling to secure their supply of lithium to meet their individual carbon-reduction goals, the United States has been boosting its domestic efforts to produce materials like lithium within its borders in order to reduce its reliance on more dominant players like China.
The implementation of the IRA has helped as it requires that 40% of all materials used in EV battery production should be produced domestically or be sourced from countries with which the US has an FTA.