DETROIT — Mining company executives. Non-automotive suppliers. Engineers. Battery supply chain and purchasing experts. They've all found a seat at General Motors' table as the automaker reinvents the supply chain for electric vehicles.
"When we define what our value chain will be, it will look nothing like the value chain that exists today," said Shilpan Amin, GM's vice president of global purchasing and supply chain.
GM brought in outside experts, along with cross-functional internal teams, to inform its battery development plan and ensure that battery materials, such as lithium and cobalt, are sourced responsibly and economically.
None of the experts alone is a silver bullet for GM's strategy, Amin told Automotive News. GM needed an array of perspectives to assemble its plan. Once the automaker developed a consortium to learn from, "all of a sudden the pieces started to fall together," Amin said.
The auto industry's move toward electrification, including GM's commitment of $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicle development through 2025, has emphasized efficient and responsible sourcing of the materials that make up batteries to power EVs. Today, GM and its peers rely on a longstanding supply chain with Tier 1 through Tier 4 suppliers coordinating to meet the automaker's needs. The battery landscape marks new ground, without a map of familiar suppliers, and Amin says the network is ripe for innovation and reinvention.