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.


Thailand finance minister: economy to recover next year with 4% growth

Updated 23 November 2020

Thailand finance minister: economy to recover next year with 4% growth

  • Economy had bottomed but recovery was not fast as the battered tourism sector hurt supply chains
  • Budget for the next fiscal year will still focus on boosting domestic activity

BANGKOK: Thailand’s economy is expected to grow 4 percent in 2021 after a slump this year and fiscal policy will support a tourism-reliant economy struggling from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the finance minister said on Monday.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy shrank a less than expected 6.4 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier after falling 12.1 percent in the previous three months.
The economy had bottomed but recovery was not fast as the battered tourism sector, which accounts for about 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), has also hurt supply chains, Finance minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said.
“Without the COVID, our economy could have expanded 3 percent this year, he said. “As we expect a 6 percent contraction this year, there is the output gap of 9 percent,” he told a business forum.
“Next year, we expect 4 percent growth, which is still not 100 percent yet,” Arkhom said, adding it could take until 2022 to return to pre-pandemic levels.
There is still fiscal policy room to help growth from this year’s fiscal budget and some from rehabilitation spending, he said.
The budget for the next fiscal year will still focus on boosting domestic activity, Arkhom said, and the current public debt of 49 percent of GDP was manageable.
Of the government’s 1 trillion baht ($33 billion) borrowing plan, 400 billion would be for economic revival, of which about 120 billion-130 billion has been approved, Arkhom said.
He wants the Bank of Thailand to take more action short term on the baht, which continued to rise on Monday, despite central bank measures announced on Friday to rein in the currency strength.
“They have done that and they have their measures... which should be introduced gradually and more intensely,” Arkhom said.