Mercedes-Benz signs supply deal with Rock Tech Lithium for electric vehicle (EV)-ramp up

Mercedes-Benz AG finalised a supply agreement with Canadian-German-start-up Rock Tech Lithium Inc. to secure high-quality lithium used in electric vehicle (EV) battery production as part of a direct sourcing approach. 

Starting in 2026, including a qualification period, this allows the Stuttgart-based luxury carmaker to get its battery partners supplied with raw materials to rapidly scale up its production of electric vehicles.

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Mercedes-Benz plans to go all electric by the end of the decade, wherever market conditions allow, requiring the brand to open new sources of raw materials with new partners. 

As part of the agreement, Rock Tech Lithium plans to supply battery-grade lithium hydroxide to Mercedes-Benz battery partners from a converter based in Guben, Brandenburg, Germany. Lithium hydroxide is needed for the production of lithium-ion batteries which are used in Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles.

The agreement is to initially supply on average 10,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium hydroxide per year. This is enough for around 150,000 electric vehicles.

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, responsible for Research & Development and Procurement, said: “This significant amount of lithium sourced directly from Rock Tech will help Mercedes-Benz to advance localisation of European production of state-of-the-art battery cells. 

“Together with additional sourcing partnerships in the future, the on average 10,000 tonnes of lithium per annum will play a key role in securing the lithium supply for our battery production in Europe, to help achieve our ambitious electrification goals.”

Markus Bruegmann, Rock Tech Lithium CEO, said: “Lithium hydroxide from Rock Tech offers Mercedes-Benz the opportunity to support two strategic goals; localised and reliable sourcing as well as production under high sustainability standards. 

“We are very pleased to have found a partner that will take important steps with us towards a more resilient lithium supply chain and demonstrates trust in us to deliver an important part of their strategy and of the e-mobility transformation.”

The supply agreement provides that both companies will cooperate in creating a roadmap to achieving CO2-neutral production of lithium hydroxide by the end of 2030. 

Additionally, it requires that all lithium hydroxide supplied by Rock Tech shall be sourced from mining sites audited by the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA). This ensures high environmental and human rights standards.

Responsibly mined and processed raw materials provide the foundation for a sustainable all-electric Mercedes-Benz vehicle fleet. Respect and protection of human rights as well as of the environment are decisive criteria for choosing sourcing partners. 

In close cooperation with its suppliers, the Stuttgart-based luxury car maker is therefore working on finding levers for the consistent reduction of CO₂, as well as joining forces to reduce the amount of rare earth metals per electric drive significantly.

Recently, Mercedes-Benz signed an MoU with the Government of Canada to strengthen cooperation across its electric vehicle value chain. This ranges from technical development and the extraction of raw materials to production, service life and recycling.   

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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