General Motors on Wednesday framed its plan to build a North American plant to process battery metals for electric vehicles as a giant step toward supply chain independence.
“We need to control our own destiny, especially when it comes to battery production. That’s why we’re pursuing a North America-focused vertical integration strategy for our proprietary platform,” said Doug Parks, GM’s executive vice president for supply chain, in a call with reporters.
But the future plant, to be built in a joint venture with South Korean industrial giant Posco in an as-yet undisclosed location, will merely represent a baby step. If it opens in 2024 as planned, it will almost certainly feature a core flaw: a continued dependence on China. The new cathode plant will need to ship in chemical precursors from somewhere else and process them into nickel-manganese-cobalt-aluminum cathodes for GM’s Ultium batteries. That somewhere else is likely to be mostly China.