VW invests in mines to secure battery supply

STORY: Batteries are the new battleground for big carmakers.

Now Volkswagen is taking radical steps to secure its own supplies of vital raw materials.

On Friday (March 17) the German giant said it would start investing in mines.

Like rivals, it wants greater control over a supply chain normally left to third parties.

VW hopes to bring down its costs, meet half of its own needs, and sell to other makers.

The aim is to make its PowerCo battery unit a global supplier to the industry.

It will start by delivering cells to Ford for cars it makes in Europe.

For now, VW would only say that it is partnering with miners in Canada, where it will build its first North American battery plant.

It didn’t say which locations might come next.

Few automakers have disclosed direct investment in mines, though many have struck deals to secure supplies of raw materials like lithium and cobalt.

But acquiring batteries at reasonable cost is now a huge challenge for the industry.

VW’s PowerCo unit is targeting sales of over $21 billion by 2030.