Stellantis gets lithium hydroxide source for EV batteries in Europe

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Stellantis NV has secured a source for lithium hydroxide for electrified vehicle batteries in Europe, the automaker said Monday.

Stellantis and Australia-based Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd. have signed a five-year binding agreement for shipments to begin in 2026. The resource is a critical component of lithium-ion batteries used to power plug-in hybrids and EVs; reports suggest there could be a shortage of the compound as EV demand grows. Stellantis is seeking to have 70% of its European sales be electrified by 2030 with a full lineup of EVs.

Automotive Cell Co., the joint venture between Stellantis NV and French energy company Total SE, will have a pilot site in Nérac, France.

“Stellantis is moving forward on its electrification strategy with speed and power. This agreement is further proof that we have the competitive spirit to deliver on our commitments,” Michelle Wen, Stellantis chief purchasing and supply chain officer, said in a statement. “Safe, clean and affordable freedom of mobility represents a strong expectation of our societies and we are committed to deliver on that matter.”

Vulcan will supply Stellantis, which is investing $35.5 billion into electrification by 2025, with a minimum of more than 89,000 tons (81,000 metric tons) and a maximum of more than 109,000 tons (99,000 metric tons) of lithium hydroxide over the life of the agreement. The resources will go to three battery plants in France, Germany and Italy. Pricing will be based on market prices on a take-or-pay basis.

Vulcan’s Zero Carbon Lithium Project in the Upper Rhine Valley in Germany uses geothermal energy to produce battery-quality lithium hydroxide from brine without the use of fossil fuels, according to a news release. The supply agreement is subject to the successful start of commercial operation at the Vulcan facility and full product qualification.

“The definitive offtake agreement with Stellantis aligns with our mission to decarbonize the lithium ion battery and electric vehicle supply chain,” Francis Wedin, Vulcan managing director, said in a statement. “The Vulcan Zero Carbon Lithium Project also intends to reduce the transport distance of lithium chemicals into Europe, and our location in Germany, proximal to Stellantis’ European gigafactories, is consistent with this strategy."

The announcement comes a week after Vulcan signed a second deal with French automaker Renault SA to supply between 28,660 and more than 35,000 tons (26,000 and 32,000 metric tons) of battery-grade lithium chemicals. Vulcan also has supply deals with Belgian recycling group Umicore NV and South Korea's LG Chem Ltd.

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble