According to BMW’s finance head on Friday, the company is avoiding mining investments in order to reduce battery prices and is instead relying on efficient design and recycling, putting it apart from certain rivals who have dug deep into the supply chain.
“We don’t think it is right to invest in mines. We view it as more important to get back raw materials from cars and other products,” finance chief Nicolas Peter said in an interview.
BMW has its own battery cell research facility in Germany, but has outsourced large-scale development to partners. For example, CATL and EVE Energy have been given multibillion-euro orders to make battery cells in China and Europe, respectively.
The main obstacle for automakers trying to produce profits from EVs that are comparable to those from combustion engine vehicles is lowering battery costs, the majority of which come from raw materials. BMW hopes to achieve this goal with its “Neue Klasse” EV-only line that will launch in the middle of the decade.
Some companies, like Volkswagen, are placing large bets on increasing their own battery production and buying mines to maintain control farther down the supply chain.
In addition to opening a raw material office in Canada, where it inked a raw materials deal last year, Mercedes-Benz said on Thursday that it had made the “basic decision” to dedicate cash to mining.
Another approach to reduce expenses, according to Peter, is to invest in technology like hydrogen-powered vehicles that don’t require as many raw, essential minerals.
The automaker does not feel the need to build substantial cell recycling facilities of its own, according to Peter, but it does have a battery cell recycling plant through its joint venture in China.
Instead, he added, it would work with partners to recycle at scale and use the surge in sales of its electric cars to demonstrate the demand for recovered raw materials.
“With our business development, we are creating the motivation to invest – but we do not need to develop big recycling facilities for battery cells ourselves,” Peter said.
(Adapted from CNBCTV18.com)