BMW bumps up orders for battery cells

DPA News

German carmaker BMW is securing additional volumes of battery cells worth several billion euros, as it steps up its game in the market for electric vehicles.

The company said Thursday it was increasing cooperation with its supplier Samsung SDI, having concluded a new contract worth 2.9 billion euros (3.21 billion dollars).

The order volume planned for the years 2020 to 2031 for the Chinese manufacturer CATL will increase from 4 billion euros to 7.3 billion euros (8.1 billion dollars).

The new contracts secure the long-term demand for battery cells, said BMW’s chief purchasing officer Andreas Wendt.

Purchasing raw materials is playing an increasingly important role for BMW. From 2020, the company intends to procure lithium and cobalt itself and make them available to the battery cell manufacturers.

Cobalt will then be sourced from mines in Australia and Morocco, lithium from Australia, among others. This is about compliance with environmental standards and human rights, the company said.

Cobalt in particular is an important but problematic raw material for electric mobility. The mineral is mined mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, often under inhumane conditions.