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In almost simultaneous releases, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen both announced that they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Canada in connection to battery materials and technology. Both German companies aim to advance opportunities across Canada's electric vehicle supply chain and secure sustainable sources of raw materials from the country.

Present in the ceremony are outgoing VW Group CEO Herbert Deiss; Mercedes-Benz Group CTO Marking Schaefer; Olaf Scholz, Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany; François-Philippe Champagne, Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry; and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Volkswagen Mercedes-Benz Canada Signing Partnership
Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Deiss
Volkswagen Mercedes-Benz Canada Signing Partnership
Mercedes-Benz Group CTO Markus Schaefer

The Volkswagen Group focuses on the collaboration between PowerCo, its newly founded battery company, and the Canadian mining sector. The supply of critical raw materials such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt is a key focus of this cooperation. The plan is to ramp up the Group's cathode material production and to offer Canadian suppliers an opportunity to act as raw material suppliers, refiners, and processors. PowerCo also plans to establish a dedicated liaison office in Canada.

"The supply of battery raw materials and the production of precursor and cathode materials with a low carbon footprint will allow for a fast and sustainable ramp-up of battery capacity — a key lever for our growth strategy in North America," said Deiss, who will step down as VW Group's CEO at the end of the month.

The VW Group plans to launch more than 25 battery-electric vehicles in North America, targetting 55 percent EV sales by 2030.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz's MoU aims to explore deeper ties through all stages of the automotive value chain – from technical development and the extraction of raw materials, to production, service life, and recycling.  

Mercedes is also exploring a strategic partnership with Rock Tech Lithium Inc., a cleantech company with operations in Canada and Germany. It can tap new sources of raw materials for this partnership, which will be a key role in helping Mercedes-Benz to mass-produce its zero-emission vehicles.

"As sustainability is a central pillar of our Mercedes-Benz purchasing strategy, we appreciate that Rock Tech plans to supply Mercedes-Benz with lithium from mining sites audited to the standard of IRMA and processed with renewable energy sources," said Gunnar Guethenke, Vice President Procurement and Supplier Quality of Mercedes-Benz AG.

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