An all-electric Volkswagen Vizzion concept car displayed during the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party congress in Hamburg. Photo: Odd ANDERSEN / AFP
The two firms “signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on long-term lithium supplies for battery cells,” VW said in a statement, although it did not reveal the financial terms of the deal.
“Volkswagen is thus already securing a significant share of its lithium requirement,” the Wolfsburg-based group added.
With harsh EU emissions limits set to bite from next year and toughen further by 2030, the sprawling 12-brand company plans some 70 new electric models by 2028.
As it emerges from the shadow of its painful “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal, VW aims to sell around 22 million electric cars over the coming decade to escape fines from Brussels.
But the new electric offensive is pushing the limits of battery production. World demand for lithium is constantly growing as car companies join makers of smartphones and other electronic gadgets in clamouring for supply of the element.
Each smartphone battery contains three grammes of lithium, a laptop around 30 grammes and an electric car battery more than 20 kilogrammes.