VW fails to secure long-term cobalt supply for electric vehicles – by Henry Sanderson and Neil Hume (Financial Times – October 15, 2017)


An attempt by one of the world’s biggest carmakers to secure long-term supplies of cobalt for its push into electric vehicles has been shunned by leading producers of the metal.

Volkswagen issued a tender last month seeking a minimum of five years of supply at a fixed price, according to people familiar with the process, but struggled to find any takers.

The carmaker put off miners by suggesting a price that was well below current market prices, which have jumped by more than 80 per cent this year, the people said. “They’re being arrogant because they’re automotive and they’re used to doing it,” one trader said. “They completely misjudged the contents of the tender. There’s no point negotiating — it’s not even a discussion point.”

The pushback is a sign of the difficulties carmakers face securing long-term supplies of battery raw materials as they gear up to produce electric vehicles for the mass market.

“Volkswagen is looking for long-term strategic solutions for important e-mobility raw materials in order to ensure capacity and price stability,” a spokesman for the company said, declining to comment on ongoing sourcing processes.

For the rest of this article: https://www.ft.com/content/297d7d4a-b002-11e7-aab9-abaa44b1e130