GM and Vacuumschmelze (VAC) to build a new magnet factory in US to support EV growth

GM and Vacuumschmelze (VAC) of Germany announced plans for VAC to build a plant in the US that will manufacture permanent magnets for the electric motors used in the GMC HUMMER EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, Chevrolet Silverado EV and more than a dozen other models using GM’s Ultium Platform. The new plant would plan to use locally sourced raw materials. (Earlier post.)

VAC is a leading global producer of advanced magnetic materials and the largest producer of permanent magnets in the Western Hemisphere with nearly 100 years of experience.

The plant is expected to start production in 2024 and create hundreds of new jobs. The location of the facility will be announced at a later date. The finished magnets will be delivered to facilities building EV motors for GM’s Ultium-powered EVs.

Magnets are at the heart of an EV motor. Within the motors, an electric coil generates a magnetic field to push against strong magnets, creating the torque that propels a vehicle’s wheels.

A GMC HUMMER EV powered by GM’s Ultium Platform may have as many as three motors with up to 11,500 lb-ft of torque (15,590 N·m)—all of which is available to the driver on demand. This allows the GMC HUMMER EV to accelerate 0-60 mph in only three seconds.

A non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been completed. GM and VAC expect to finalize definitive agreements in early 2022.

GM has made a number of recent announcements around pursuing a North America-focused, vertical integration strategy for its proprietary Ultium battery platform. By value, GM expects the majority of the Ultium Platform will be sourced, processed or manufactured in North America by 2025.

Previously announced supply chain collaborations include those with:

  • Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) for lithium (earlier post)
  • GE Renewable Energy for rare earth materials for EV motor magnets (earlier post)
  • Wolfspeed for silicon carbide for power electronics (earlier post)
  • Nucor Corporation for EV structural components
  • POSCO for a joint venture to build a processing facility in North America for Cathode Active Material (or CAM) (earlier post)
  • MP Materials for rare earth materials, alloys and magnets (earlier post)

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