EGEB: GM, GE to collaborate on boosting EV rare earth materials supply

GM’s 62-kW induction EV motor will be used in all-wheel drive applications.

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • General Motors, GE Renewable Energy will develop a rare earth materials supply chain for EVs, renewables.
  • Scotland may get an offshore wind farm underwater substation.
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GM and GE Renewable Energy

General Motors (NYSE: GM) and GE Renewable Energy (NYSE: GE) announced on Wednesday that they have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding to evaluate opportunities to improve supplies of heavy and light rare earth materials and magnets, copper, and electrical steel used for manufacturing of electric vehicles and clean energy equipment.

The two companies will initially focus on creating a North America- and Europe-based supply chain of vertically integrated magnet manufacturing that both companies will use in the future. Metal alloys and finished magnets produced from rare earth materials are critical components used in manufacturing electric motors for automotive and clean energy generation.

The companies will also work together to help establish new supply chains for materials such as copper and eSteel used in automotive traction motors and renewables.

Shilpan Amin, GM vice president for Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, said:

Motors [pictured above] are one of the most important components of our Ultium Platform, and the heavy and light rare earth materials are an essential ingredient in our motor magnets. The combined scale of GM and GE will enable us to unlock the potential for securing low-carbon footprint, ESG-friendly, secure and cost competitive materials.

Read more: GM announces new battery facility to develop lithium-metal and solid-state cells

Offshore wind farm underwater substation

Oslo-based Aker Offshore Wind wants to install Scotland’s first offshore wind farm underwater substation in the Outer Moray Firth (inlet) in the North Sea, north and east of Inverness.

Substations, which are normally installed above sea level, move the energy that wind turbines generate to homes and businesses.

Aker says an underwater substation would result in several benefits:

[T]he seawater can be used as a natural cooling system, while reliability is increased through stable temperatures, fewer components, and no rotating parts. In addition, operational costs can decrease by less maintenance and reduced material use.

Photo: Aker Offshore Wind

Aker’s underwater substation would be delivered as part of the licensing process of ScotWind, a program that will lease areas of Scotland’s seabed for wind farm developments. Work would start in 2022.

Aker Offshore Wind has teamed up with Madrid-headquartered Ocean Winds (a joint venture by EDP Renewables and ENGIE) to submit a series of floating bids that could deliver up to 6,000 megawatts of energy in the Outer Moray Firth. According to Aker, it would be by far the UK’s biggest wind energy development.

Photo: GM

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.