BMW strikes five-year lithium deal for electric car batteries

A concept vehicle is revealed at a BMW event in Munich. BMW — like other German carmakers — is planning a slew of all-electric and hybrid models. (AFP)
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Updated 11 December 2019

BMW strikes five-year lithium deal for electric car batteries

FRANKFURT: German high-end car giant BMW said on Wednesday that it had struck a deal with a Chinese supplier covering all its lithium needs for electric vehicle batteries for the coming five years.

The €540-million ($599 million) contract with China’s Ganfeng Lithium will provide “100 percent of (BMW’s) lithium hydroxide needs” from 2020-24, Andreas Wendt, BMW’s board member in charge of purchasing, said in a statement.

Faced with tough new emissions regulations in the EU from next year and growing public disquiet about climate change, BMW — like other German carmakers — plans a slew of all-electric and hybrid models in the coming years.

It is set to offer 25 “electrified” vehicles across its line-up by 2023, with more than half completely battery-powered.

“Our need for raw materials will grow accordingly. By 2025, for lithium alone, we expect to need about seven times the amount we do today,” Wendt said.

Sourcing of metals vital to battery production, such as cobalt and lithium, has come under increased public scrutiny as carmakers around the world Ramp up their electric vehicle offerings.

BMW said that Ganfeng’s lithium is mined in Australia under the “strictest sustainability standards.”

Meanwhile, it will from next year source the cobalt for its batteries directly from mines in Australia and Morocco.

EU will ‘stand firm’ against Washington over trade disputes

Updated 34 min 41 sec ago

EU will ‘stand firm’ against Washington over trade disputes

  • Issues dating back to 2004 over subsidies for Airbus and Boeing are drawing to a conclusion at WTO

BRUSSELS: The EU will take decisive action against the US if it is unwilling to settle a long-running row over aircraft subsidies and presses ahead with a series of new trade investigations, Europe’s trade commissioner said on  Monday.

A trade dispute dating back to 2004 over subsidies for Europe’s Airbus and US planemaker Boeing is drawing to a conclusion at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

It has already awarded Washington the right to impose duties on $7.5 billion of European goods related to subsidies given to Airbus but is only expected to rule in September what retaliation Europe can take over support for Boeing. European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan told the European Parliament’s trade committee that Washington had twice rejected EU proposals to settle the dispute and he hoped the WTO would issue its findings as soon as possible in September.

EU officials said they did not expect the United States to want to settle the dispute before then.

“I want to reassure people that we are ready to act decisively and strongly on the EU side if we don’t get the type of outcome that we expect from the US in relationship to finalizing this 15-year-old dispute,” he said.

Since US President Donald Trump took office, he has repeatedly criticized the EU over its trade surplus in goods and imposed tariffs on metal imports from the EU and threatened to do the same for cars made in the bloc.

Hogan said Washington’s recent launch of several “Section 232” investigations, which assess the impact of imports on US national security, was unacceptable.

The investigations cover mobile cranes and transformers and have been expanded to include steel products, such as nails. The US is also looking into whether planned EU digital services taxes impede US commerce.

“It’s not appreciated the number of 232 investigations that have been launched in recent weeks, perhaps this is political, perhaps it’s more real,” Hogan said.

“This is totally unacceptable ... and if these investigations go further the EU will have to stand together and act as well,” he said.