Albermarle signs BMW lithium deal, but concern over EV sales slump persist

Albermarle signs BMW lithium deal, but concern over EV sales slump persist

Albermarle signs BMW lithium deal, but concern over EV sales slump persist 704 852 Energy Storage Journal

February 22, 2024: US-based speciality chemicals producer Albemarle said on February 20 it had agreed a battery-grade lithium hydroxide supply deal with BMW.

Under the multi-year agreement, which starts next year, the companies will also partner on technology to develop next-generation lithium ion batteries for EVs.

Albemarle said its agreement is the second with BMW, but the first to include a shared interest in research opportunities to accelerate lithium battery innovations.

But the agreement comes against a backdrop of a fall in global interest in EVs, with motorists reluctant to switch amid concerns over the vehicles’ high price tag and availability of charging stations.

The sudden and sustained drop in the price of lithium to what one analyst called “totally unsustainable levels” is set to reverse, however.

Last October, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he was concerned about the impact of high interest rates on car buyers and said the firm was hesitating on its plans for a factory in Mexico as it assesses the economic outlook.

Batteries International reported earlier this month that Ford looks set to continue a freeze on selected investments in its EV business after revealing the unit’s $4.7 billion loss outstripped overall net income of $4.3 billion in 2023, which one industry commentator said equated to nearly $65,000 for each EV it sold.

Meanwhile industry commentator Robert Bryce — who said last November that Ford was facing up to the “truth bomb” that motorists don’t want to pay a premium for EVs — has said the firm’s losses are only part of a train wreck in the EV market.

“Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the staggering losses at Ford and the other automakers is that the carmakers didn’t understand the limited appeal of EVs,” said Bryce, who hosts the Power Hungry Podcast.

Photo: Albemarle