BMW ups orders of battery cells for electric cars

BMW ups orders of battery cells for electric cars
The new Mini electric car is unveiled at the BMW group plant near Oxford, UK, in July. The first electric Mini will go into full production at the end of 2019. (AFP)
Updated 22 November 2019

BMW ups orders of battery cells for electric cars

BMW ups orders of battery cells for electric cars
  • By 2023, the group plans to offer 25 “electrified” models including hybrids and full battery-electric vehicles

German high-end carmaker has BMW said that it was massively increasing orders of battery cells for electric cars for the coming decade, as it plans dozens of new electrified models.

The total increase of €6.2 billion ($6.9 billion) will come from a new €2.9-billion contract with Samsung-SDI and an increase from €4 billion to €7.3 billion in orders from China’s CATL, BMW said in a statement.

German carmakers have been squeezed by years of emissions scandals and imminent tougher greenhouse gas rules in Europe into making big bets on electric mobility.

BMW said that Thursday’s announcement “secures long-term battery cell needs” for the company, adding that it was itself organizing supplies of raw materials cobalt and lithium to the cell makers.

“Compliance with environ- mental standards and respect for human rights have the highest priority” in sourcing the vital elements from Australia and Morocco, BMW said.

By 2023, the group plans to offer 25 “electrified” models including hybrids and full battery-electric vehicles.

The first all-electric Mini compact cars are to roll off its Oxford, UK line later this year.

And it expects to double electric sales by 2021, followed by a “steep growth curve” of 30 percent annual expansion until 2025.

Lithium-ion cells are the building blocks of the massive batteries built into electric and hybrid vehicles.

But few carmakers have taken the huge financial risk of building up in-house production, as volumes remain low compared with combustion engines and the technology is swiftly developing.

Rather, they prefer to farm out the battery work to specialist suppliers.

About two thirds of cell-making capacity is in China, with giant CATL alone accounting for one quarter of global supply.

Japan’s Panasonic, China’s BYD and Korea’s LG-Chem and Samsung-SDI round out the top five manufacturers.

Some of the companies are expanding into Europe, with CATL building a factory in Erfurt, capital of the German state of Thuringia, that will initially supply BMW.

But Paris and Berlin hope government backing can help found an “Airbus of batteries” to take on Asian competitors, with planned investments of between €5 billion and €6 billion — €4 billion to come from the private sector.


Copper slips as China’s coronavirus outbreak raises demand fears

Copper slips as China’s coronavirus outbreak raises demand fears
Updated 2 min 48 sec ago

Copper slips as China’s coronavirus outbreak raises demand fears

Copper slips as China’s coronavirus outbreak raises demand fears
  • The metal reached an eight-year high of $8,238 on Jan. 8

LONDON: Copper fell on Friday alongside stock markets and oil prices as poor economic data and new coronavirus restrictions in China, the world's biggest raw materials consumer, weakened the outlook for economic growth and demand.
But losses eased after U.S. factory figures showed activity surging to its highest level in nearly 14 years in early January.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 0.2 percent at $8,005 a tonne at 1700 GMT, off an earlier low of $7,864.50.

The metal reached an eight-year high of $8,238 on Jan. 8.
"We are just hitting the buffers here," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen. "Commodities had a phenomenal run, and that just screams correction."
A coronavirus outbreak in China and the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year holiday may curb industrial activity.

This and slow progress suppressing the virus in Europe and the United States are forcing investors to reassess copper's near-term outlook, he said.
But many analysts, including Hansen, say supply will tighten as the year progresses, pushing prices higher.