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Carbon-conscious mining company Snow Lake Lithium and battery production specialist LG Energy Solution announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a domestic supply chain of lithium in North America. When Snow Lake’s lithium mining operation gets up and running in 2025, it plans to supply LG with the precious Earth material essential to current EV battery chemistry. This domestic supply chain could help several automakers qualify for US federal tax credits as well.

Snow Lake Resources Ltd. ($LTIM) is a publicly traded mining company looking to source precious battery materials in new and more sustainable ways. The company has already made a commitment to provide completely traceable, carbon-neutral, and zero harm lithium to the EV and battery market in North America by utilizing hydroelectric power and zero emission mining machinery.

The lithium-rich land is located in Manitoba, Canada, where Snow Lake has been consolidating the area and conducting surveys to determine its resource potential. It kicked off its initial assessment of the land in early 2022, but said it will take 18-24 months for environmental work such as permitting to be complete before commercial lithium mining can actually begin in North America.

Snow Lake Lithium still has a lot to accomplish before it can mine this rich supply of lithium to automakers in North America, but based on early assessments, the company believes it will be able to provide enough lithium to power five million EVs on the continent alone, while simultaneously reducing US automakers’ dependency on China.

With its latest announcement, LG Energy Solution – a major battery provider to EV automakers in North America – is onboard to establish a viable domestic supply chain of lithium that can lead to financial benefits to the automakers themselves, in addition to their US customers.

Lithium North America
Source: Snow Lake Lithium

Snow Lake to provide Lithium to North America with LGES

The companies announced their non-binding MOU in a press release today, outlining some of the early terms and expected timelines for domestic lithium distribution to support EVs. When Snow Lake Lithium begins approved lithium mining in Canada, it will supply LG Energy Solution (LGES) with the chemical element for EV battery cell production in North America over a ten year period.

LGES is a newer battery production unit of the larger LG Group, originally spun out of LG Chem toward the end of 2020. Its main focus is the development of lithium-ion batteries for EVs, Mobility & IT applications, and Energy Storage Systems (ESS).

Following an early partnership with Hyundai Motor Group, LGES has shared plans for a 45 GWh battery cell factory in Canada with Stellantis, in addition to three new battery plants in the US for GM on the wings of a massive $2.5 billion grant from the US Department of Energy. Through its collaborations with American automaker Ford, LGES has already begun exploring other sustainable ways to source lithium with companies like Compass Materials International.

Based on these movements, an agreement with Snow Lake Lithium and the potential of its colossal, 55,000-acre domestic mining site for the EV industry feels like a natural next step. LG Energy Solution CEO Youngsoo Kwon shared a similar sentiment:

As we have recently announced our mid- to long-term strategy to focus on North America, the fastest growing EV market, these partnerships serve as a crucial step towards securing a stable key raw material supply chain in the region. By constantly investing in upstream suppliers and establishing strategic partnerships with major suppliers of critical minerals, LGES will continue to ensure the steady delivery of our top-quality products, thereby further advancing the global transition to EVs and ultimately to a sustainable future.

Both companies state that completion of the partnership outlined in the MOU will be subject to a number of conditions, including “the completion of due diligence from both parties.” Should both companies find the partnership terms and mining prospects agreeable, a massive supply of lithium available domestically could benefit EV automakers and customers alike.

Under new terms outlined in the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act, EVs and a majority of their battery components must be assembled in North America in order to qualify for federal tax credits up to $7,500. Furthermore, a majority of those critical battery materials like lithium must be sourced in North America, or from countries with free trade agreements with the US.

Currently, most EVs sold in the US no longer qualify under these terms that will officially kick in January 1, 2023, but automakers are already pivoting their production strategies toward US assembly. Since several major automakers already have working relationships with LGES, obtaining battery cells built with materials from North America could prove fruitful as long as Snow Lake Lithium can complete the necessary measures to ensure approval for mining in Canada.

As previously mentioned, this process will still require years, but if Snow Lake remains on schedule, the global EV production landscape could make a pivotal shift toward significantly larger manufacturing in North America. Additionally, Canada is expected to rank third in the global production of the raw materials needed for electric vehicle batteries by 2025.

When you think about how significant North America’s current dependency is on China for a lot of these resources, the fact that Canada could be a major player in less than three years again demonstrates how quickly this industry is moving, and how much opportunity could soon be coming to the US and its neighbor to the North, by way of EV adoption.

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Volvo EX30 tops Mini in Europe as low-cost EV’s sales surge in May

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Volvo EX30 tops Mini in Europe as low-cost EV's sales surge in May

The cheapest and smallest Volvo EV is off to a hot start. After only five months on the market, the Volvo EX30 topped BMW’s Mini in Europe’s small premium segment as sales continued surging.

Volvo EX30 passes Mini in EU sales

Since EX30 production began in Zhangjiakoui, China, last fall, Volvo’s compact EV is already a top seller.

Despite its small size, the Volvo EX30 is having a significant impact. According to global data collection firm Dataforce, Volvo’s sales rose 27% last month in Europe. With over 32,800 models sold, Volvo propelled to number 14, up from 17 last year.

The EX30 accounted for the majority of the growth. Volvo’s EX30 topped the small premium segment, surpassing BMW’s Mini by 1,029 in sales.

Volvo’s EX30 is the third-best-selling EV in Europe through May, with 30,195 models sold. The Tesla Model Y took the top spot with over 79,100. Tesla’s Model 3 was second with 38,863 units sold, up 38% YOY.

The growth comes after the EU revealed plans for additional tariffs on EVs made in China last week. Volvo’s deputy CEO, Bjorn Annwall, criticized the decision, saying it would only hurt the buyer.

Volvo-EX30-Mini
Volvo EX30 (Source: Volvo)

Starting at around 36,000 euros ($38,500), Volvo’s EX30 is one of the most affordable EVs on the market.

Although Volvo had already planned to begin EX30 production in the EU in 2025, Annwall hinted the US-bound model would likely come from Belgium.

Volvo-EX30-Mini
Volvo EX30 interior (Source: Volvo)

Volvo plans to introduce the EX30 in over 90 countries by the end of the year. In the US, the EX30 starts at $34,950. It’s available in two powertrains, a single-motor extended range, and a twin-motor performance, offering up to 275 miles of range.

As you would expect from Volvo, the EX30 has the latest safety and connectivity tech. It includes Google built-in with Apple CarPlay as standard.

Electrek’s Take

Volvo EX30 sales surging in Europe is no surprise as demand for affordable EVs continues climbing. Most automakers are planning or have already launched low-cost EVs.

Kia opened orders for its EV3 in Korea, starting at $30,700 (KRW 42.08 million). Next year, Kia is expected to launch the EV4, an entry-level electric sedan, starting at around $35,000 (see a video of it captured in the wild).

Volkswagen finished design work on its ID.2all, a $27,000 (25,000) euro electric car. The production ID.2all is expected to debut later this year, with sales kicking off in 2025.

Hyundai, Ford, GM, BMW, Nissan, and others have all revealed plans to launch more affordable EVs over the next few years.

Volvo’s early commitment to go all-electric is already paying off as the EX30 takes market share.

Source: Automotive News

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Ferrari’s new solar-powered e-building opens ahead of first EV sports car debut

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Ferrari's new solar-powered e-building opens ahead of first EV sports car debut

The Italian luxury sports car maker is preparing to launch its first EV. Ferrari’s new e-building opened its doors on Friday with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in attendance. The new plant, entirely powered by renewable energy, is set to launch the first Ferrari EV sports car.

Ferrari’s first fully electric sports car will be built at the new e-building. CEO Benedetto Vigna said the new factory will “light up” Ferrari’s future.

The e-building will enable Ferrari to continue to “audaciously redefine the limits of what’s possible.” Ferrari’s first EV sports car will be built at the facility alongside its next-gen hybrids and ICE vehicles. The facility will also produce batteries, electric motors, and inverters for Ferrari’s EV.

Ferrari has invested roughly $214 million (200 million euros) to make the facility a reality. After opening the doors Friday, Ferrari said the plant will help improve efficiency and flexibility.

The building will be entirely powered by renewable energy. Over 3,000 solar panels on the roof produce 1.3 MW of energy. Ferrari said that by reusing rainwater and energy in the production cycle, 60% of the energy used for battery and motor testing would be recovered and redirected.

Ferrari's-e-building
Ferrari’s new e-building (Source: Ferrari)

Ferrari’s new e-building opens with first EV coming soon

The new inauguration comes after sources told Reuters this week that Ferrari’s first EV sports car will cost at least $535,000 (500,000 euros).

According to the sources, Ferrari is already developing its second electric vehicle. It’s still in its early stages but will be built at the new e-building.

Ferrari's-e-building
Inside Ferrari’s new e-building (Source: Ferrari)

Ferrari launched its first plug-in hybrid last year, the SF90 Stradale, as it electrifies the brand. By 2026, Ferrari aims for EVs and PHEVs to account for 60% of sales.

The first fully electric Ferrari is expected to be revealed by the end of the year. Check back soon for more info.

Meanwhile, luxury rival Lamborghini revealed its first electric car, the Lanzador EV, last August (check out Lamborghini’s first EV here). Lamborghini is expected to launch the Lanzador in 2028.

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Spy photos hint at Xiaomi’s quick encore to the SU7 EV to compete against the Tesla Model Y

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Spy photos hint at Xiaomi's quick encore to the SU7 EV to compete against the Tesla Model Y

It’s only been six months since Xiaomi Automobile launched its first-ever BEV – the SU7. Following early success, Xiaomi has been developing a second model, and spy images from local media outlets in China have given us a (camouflaged) glimpse at the EV’s exterior design.

Xiaomi Automobile is the EV-centric arm of one of China’s largest smartphone and electronics manufacturers, founded three years ago. After following much of its surprisingly quick and encouraging process in BEV development, Xiaomi launched its flagship SU7 EV in December of 2023, garnering an impressive number of orders from Chinese consumers loyal to the parent brand.

The infant EV model received over 50,000 orders in the first 27 minutes of going on sale, creating a waitlist of up to seven months. This incited Xiaomi Automobile to restructure its production strategy to manufacture and deliver more SU7s than initially planned to keep up with growing demand.

After just 32 days of production, Xiaomi celebrated its 10,000th SU7 build. By May 2024, we reported the young automaker was already developing a second all-electric model to compete against the globally popular Tesla Model Y.

Most recently, local media outlets in China have captured spy photos of what appears to be Xiaomi’s new EV – a sleek SUV coupe.

  • Xiaomi EV spy
  • Xiaomi EV spy

Spy images show a sleek new Xiaomi coupe SUV EV

Local media outlet Xchuxing posted the spy images seen above, which appear to be the public’s first glimpse at Xiaomi’s next EV. The report also states the new model is a coupe SUV with a design similar to the Ferrari Purosangue and is expected to be released sometime in 2025.

These details align with our previous reports on Xiaomi’s second EV, which is expected to continue competing against Porsche and, in this instance, Tesla.

As you can see from the spy images, the covered Xiaomi EV has a LiDAR sensor on its roof, expected to be the same as its SU7 sibling, to enable the automaker’s NOA (Navigate on Pilot) ADAS.

The rear is larger than the SU7 sedan but appears to feature the same tail light design, further hinting that these spy images are, in fact, Xiaomi’s next EV. We will know more once the Chinese automaker publicly confirms the new model, hopefully alongside some non-camouflaged images.

However, from what we’ve seen so far, it looks sharp. We hope to learn more soon and report back.

Credit for all images: xchuxing.com

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