BMW orders batteries worth $24 billion as EV demand grows
BMW AG has boosted orders for battery cells to keep pace with accelerating demand for electric cars that made up for more than 11% of deliveries during the half of the year.
The German carmaker now has contracts for more than 20 billion euros ($23.8 billion) of batteries, up from 12 billion euros previously, Chief Executive Officer Oliver Zipse said in an interview. The cells are destined for i4 sedans, iX sport utility vehicles and other models BMW is producing through 2024. The company plans to start switching to a new generation of batteries the following year. “We’re following the market," Zipse said. “The first half has shown that we’re growing and gaining market share. We’re right in the middle of electrification."
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Carmakers are reeling from a crippling shortage of semiconductors that’s put the industry on high alert to identify other vulnerabilities in their supply chains. Access to enough battery cells and raw materials like cobalt and nickel will be critical to established carmakers’ electric transformations. EV leader Tesla Inc. has gone so far as to clinch metal-supply deals with miners.
BMW’s increased cell orders are spread across China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. and EVE Energy Co., South Korea’s Samsung SDI Co. and Sweden’s Northvolt AB. Shares in CATL, as the company is known added as much as 6.5% in Asia on Monday, while Shenzhen-traded EVE Energy increased by a similar amount.
While BMW has readied a response to growing EV sales, it’s continued to be constrained by the dearth of semiconductors. Last month, the company predicted the situation would worsen through the end of the year.
“We said some weeks ago that the second half would be more difficult, and that’s what we’re seeing now," Zipse said. “It’s more difficult and the problem is here to stay for many months."