Mercedes-Benz to source Battery-grade Lithium Hydroxide from Rock Tech Lithium in Germany
German-Canadian startup Rock Tech Lithium Inc. has commenced the ground works for its lithium plant in Guben, Brandenburg in Germany to supply Mercedes-Benz with battery-grade lithium hydroxide starting in 2026.
The automaker claims that it is taking the next step towards localization and greater vertical integration in drive technologies for its electrification goals in Europe. The partnership with Rock Tech will enable the Stuttgart-based Mercedes-Benz to supply its battery partners with high-grade lithium hydroxide to scale up its production of fully electric vehicles.
The new converter plant represents a milestone in the strategic partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Rock Tech Lithium. The two companies signed an agreement last year for the supply of Mercedes-Benz battery partners with high-grade lithium hydroxide refined in the new plant covering an amount sufficient for around 150,000 EVs.
"For Mercedes-Benz, the shift towards electric mobility also means a change in our supply chains. Three goals are central to us: Sustainability, raw materials security and localization of procurement. The latest development is another milestone for us towards the sustainable production of state-of-the-art batteries. When it comes to our lithium supply here in Europe, Rock Tech will play a key role for Mercedes-Benz in the future", said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG and Chief Technology Officer, Development & Procurement.
Under the supply agreement signed in August 2022, the two companies will cooperate to create a roadmap for achieving net carbon-neutral production of lithium hydroxide by the end of 2030. Furthermore, lithium hydroxide supplied by Rock Tech must be sourced from mining sites audited by the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA).
Mercedes is deepening the vertical integration of its electric drive technologies in Germany and Europe. The battery plants in Untertuerkheim (Hedelfingen & Bruehl), Kamenz and Jawor (Poland), along with the announced sites in Sindelfingen and Koelleda will play a key role in the company's EV ramp-up in the region.
The battery cells will be supplied by the European factories of the Automotive Cells Company (ACC). Mercedes-Benz AG has taken an equal stake in ACC along with Stellantis and Total Energies with the goal of building a European battery champion with global ambitions. The battery cells will be manufactured at three locations in Europe, namely Douvrain, Kaiserslautern and Termoli.
The German automaker is also pursuing the goal of sustainable, closed-loop recycling of battery materials and cutting resource consumption. The company recently began construction of its own battery recycling plant in Kuppenheim, Germany.