Electric car boom prompts Apple to get serious about getting cobalt

By Valentina Palladino

Enlarge / Cobalt chips (credit: Alchemist-hp)

Apple may cut out the cobalt middlemen by obtaining supplies for its batteries on its own. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is in talks with miners to buy long-term supplies of cobalt, a key ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries used in Apple’s iPhones and iPads. Apple has reportedly been in discussions to secure contracts for “several thousand metric tons” of cobalt each year for at least five years.

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If a deal comes to fruition, it would be the first time Apple secured its own supplies of cobalt for batteries. The tech giant currently leaves cobalt buying to battery manufacturers, but now the company wants to ensure it can lock down enough of the metal to maintain a sufficient supply.

The growth of the electric car industry has prompted fears of a cobalt shortage—electric car batteries use much more cobalt than those of consumer electronics, and car manufacturers are already seeking contracts with cobalt miners to get the amounts they need for their vehicles. BMW is reportedly close to securing a 10-year supply deal, and Volkswagen Group tried but failed to secure a long-term cobalt supply deal at the end of last year. Cobalt prices are rising, and VW’s plans failed partly because the company wanted to set a fixed price for the metal for the entirety of the contract.

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Source:: Ars Technica Gadgets


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