Magna International has decided that it will invest between $400 million and $600 million in lithium ion battery production over the next three years. The Canadian auto parts supplier will build two production facilities, one in Europe and one in North America, to supply the battery packs for future plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.
Magna has set up a partnership with South Korean battery maker Kokam to share technology and has also purchased a 13 percent stake in Lithium Americas Corp. That latter deal will allow Magna to purchase up to 25 percent of the lithium produced by that company at a five percent discount from market prices.
Magna is currently working with Ford on development and production of the 2012 Focus Electric. In Europe, the supplier has contracts with Daimler and with the powertrain division of the Volvo truck business for plug-in development.