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Ford's EV Expansion Bolstered with Strategic Lithium Partnerships

Ford continues to secure a reliable lithium supply by proactively reaching multiple deals with companies such as Albemarle and Compass Minerals.

Maria Guerra, Senior Editor-Battery Technology

May 24, 2023

3 Min Read
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Ford's F-150 Lightning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.Courtesy of Ford.

As demand for electric vehicles (EVs) rises, the availability of lithium, a key element used in lithium-ion batteries, has become a pressing concern for automakers. Ford Motor Company has taken proactive steps to ensure a steady flow of this essential resource by securing multiple deals from reliable lithium sources.

Here are five lithium deals secured by Ford this week:

1. Albemarle Corporation: Albemarle has announced that it will supply more than 100,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide for approximately 3M future Ford EV batteries. The five-year supply agreement starts in 2026 and continues through 2030.  Albemarle and Ford are committed to supplying the US EV supply chain via lithium hydroxide domestically produced in the United States or originating in a country with a US Free Trade Agreement.  

2. EnergySource Minerals: EnergySource Minerals (ESM) announces a binding lithium supply contract with Ford Motor Company. ESM will supply Ford with lithium hydroxide produced at ESM's Project ATLiS, located in Imperial Valley, California.

Project ATLiS in California's Salton Sea is expected to produce approximately 20,000 metric tons of lithium annually, which will quadruple the current US supply of domestic lithium and is enough material to build around 500,000 EVs for the auto industry annually.

3. Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM): SQM and Ford Motor Company have announced a long-term strategic agreement to secure the supply of high-quality lithium products to produce electric vehicles. The agreement between Ford and SQM will ensure the supply of battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide, essential components to manufacture high-performance electric vehicle batteries.

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4. Nemaska Lithium: Ford has entered into a long-term agreement with Nemaska Lithium to supply lithium products, including lithium hydroxide, over 11 years. The deal calls for the delivery of up to 13,000 tons of lithium hydroxide annually. The agreement also provides that before commencing delivery of lithium hydroxide produced in Bécancour, Nemaska Lithium will supply Ford with spodumene concentrate from its Whabouchi mine.

The lithium hydroxide that the Québec company will produce will meet high standards of quality and sustainability, with one of the lowest carbon footprints in the lithium industry. The lithium hydroxide produced by Nemaska Lithium should help qualify Ford vehicles for consumer tax benefits under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act.

5. Compass Minerals: Compass Minerals announced the signing of a binding, multiyear supply agreement to provide Ford with battery-grade lithium carbonate from its Ogden, Utah, lithium brine development project.

Under the agreement, Compass Minerals will deliver up to 40% of its planned, phase-one battery-grade lithium carbonate to Ford for a five-year term once production begins. Compass Minerals expects an annual commercial production capacity of approximately 35 kMT lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) once fully operational, with an initial phase-one capacity of roughly 11 kMT battery-grade lithium carbonate coming online in 2025.

By forging strategic partnerships with crucial lithium producers, Ford aims to boost its EV ambitions and enhance the performance of its electric vehicles.

About the Author(s)

Maria Guerra

Senior Editor-Battery Technology, Informa Markets Engineering

Battery Technology Senior Editor Maria L. Guerra is an electrical engineer with a background in Oil & Gas consulting and experience as a Power/Analog Editor for Electronic Design.  Maria graduated from NYU Tandon School of Engineering with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE). She combines her technical expertise with her knack for writing. 

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