As the world pivots towards sustainable solutions, the demand for electric vehicles (EVs) continues to surge. This increasing demand necessitates a secure supply of essential components for EV manufacturing, the most crucial of which is lithium. The recent long-term lithium hydroxide supply agreement between Ford Motor Company and Nemaska Lithium signifies a landmark in ensuring the stability of lithium supply for the production of EVs. This article provides an in-depth analysis of this agreement and its implications for the EV industry.
2. The Ford-Nemaska Lithium Agreement
Ford and Nemaska Lithium have entered a long-term agreement, spanning an 11-year period, for the supply of lithium products, including lithium hydroxide. The agreement provides for the delivery of up to 13,000 tons of lithium hydroxide per year1. The lithium hydroxide supplied by Nemaska Lithium is expected to meet high standards of quality and sustainability, with one of the lowest carbon footprints in the lithium industry1.
3. The Key Players: Ford and Nemaska Lithium
Ford Motor Company, a global giant based in Dearborn, Michigan, is committed to building a better world where everyone has the freedom to move and pursue their dreams. This commitment is reflected in its endeavors towards electric vehicle development1.
Nemaska Lithium, co-owned by Investissement Québec and Livent, is a trailblazer in lithium extraction and conversion. Its integrated project is set to be the first to produce lithium hydroxide in Québec.
4. Ford’s Vision for Electric Vehicle Development
4.1 Ford's Global Position and Future Aspirations
Ford Motor Company, recognized worldwide for its innovative and iconic vehicles, is taking bold steps towards a sustainable future. Its Ford+ plan for growth and value creation combines existing strengths, new capabilities, and always-on relationships with customers to enrich experiences and deepen their loyalty. It is investing heavily in the development of breakthrough electric vehicles (EVs) and associated technologies as part of its Ford Model e business segment1.
4.2 Ford's Commitment to Sustainability and Electric Mobility
Ford's commitment to sustainability is exemplified by its collaboration with Nemaska Lithium. The lithium hydroxide supplied by Nemaska Lithium, with one of the lowest carbon footprints in the lithium industry, will help Ford meet its sustainability goals. Furthermore, this collaboration supports Ford’s ability to scale and make EVs more accessible and affordable over time to millions of customers1.
5. Nemaska Lithium: A Pioneer in the Lithium Industry
5.1 Nemaska Lithium's Expertise and Mission
Nemaska Lithium, with its integrated project, is positioned to be the first to produce lithium hydroxide in Québec. The company intends to extract lithium spodumene at its Whabouchi mine and transform the concentrated mineral into lithium hydroxide at its future conversion plant in Bécancour. The high purity lithium hydroxide that will be produced is primarily destined for the fast-growing lithium-ion battery market, driven by the increasing worldwide demand for ground transportation electrification and energy storage1.
5.2 Collaboration with Livent
Nemaska Lithium is not alone in its endeavors. The company is co-owned by Investissement Québec and Livent. Livent, with its proven expertise as a supplier of lithium chemicals for nearly 80 years, is helping Nemaska Lithium with planning and construction management of the Whabouchi and Bécancour sites. Livent has also been appointed to undertake the sales and marketing efforts for Nemaska Lithium's products on an exclusive basis.
6. The Impact of the Agreement on the EV Industry
6.1 Creation of a Sustainable North American Battery Supply Chain
The Ford-Nemaska Lithium agreement represents a significant step towards the development of a sustainable and socially responsible North American battery supply chain. This supply chain will provide Ford with up to 13,000 tons of lithium hydroxide per year for an 11-year period, ensuring a stable supply of this vital component for EV battery production1.
6.2 Incentives for Electric Vehicle Adoption
The high-quality and sustainable lithium hydroxide produced by Nemaska Lithium can help qualify Ford vehicles for consumer tax benefits under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act. This could serve as an incentive for consumers to opt for electric vehicles, thereby accelerating the shift towards electric mobility1.
6.3 Enhancing the Position of Nemaska Lithium
The long-term agreement with Ford, a global leader in the automotive industry, strengthens Nemaska Lithium’s position as a significant player in the development of the battery industry in Québec and Canada1.
6.4 Growth of the EV Market
The agreement is also expected to contribute to the growth of the EV market. With a steady supply of lithium hydroxide, Ford can scale up its EV production, thereby meeting the increasing worldwide demand for electric vehicles.
The Ford-Nemaska Lithium agreement is a testament to the growing synergy between the automotive and lithium industries in fostering the growth of electric mobility. The agreement not only ensures a secure and sustainable supply of lithium hydroxide for Ford's EV production but also reinforces Nemaska Lithium's position in the battery industry. By facilitating the growth of the EV market and promoting the adoption of electric vehicles, this agreement holds significant potential in shaping a sustainable future for transportation.