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Volvo partners with EV battery cell makers to enhance traceability

London — Volvo Cars said Wednesday it has partnered with two battery cell makers -- China's CATL and South Korea's LG Chem -- to develop blockchain technology to bring transparency to the electric vehicle battery supply chain.

Volvo said it will be the first automaker to use blockchain to track raw material flows.

Traceability of chemicals and metals used in the production of lithium ion batteries, such as cobalt, is one of the main sustainabilitychallenges faced by automakers.

Blockchain technology, which establishes a transparent and reliable shared data network, significantly boosts transparency of the raw material supply chain as the information about the material's origin cannot be altered without alerting those concerned.

"We have always been committed to an ethical supply chain for our raw materials," said Martina Buchhauser, head of procurement at VolvoCars.

"With blockchain technology we can take the next step towards ensuring full traceability of our supply chain and minimizing any relatedrisks, in close collaboration with our suppliers."

The agreements between Volvo Cars, CATL and LG Chem cover the supply of batteries over the next decade.

Technology firms Circulor and Oracle operate the blockchain technology across CATL's supply chain following a successful pilot earlier this summer, while the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network (RSBN), together with responsible sourcing specialists RCS Global and IBM, is rolling out the technology in LG Chem's supply chain, the report read.

Data in the blockchain include the cobalt's origin, attributes such as weight and size, the chain of custody and information establishing that participants' behavior is consistent with OECD supply chain guidelines.

Volvo last month launched the XC40 Recharge, the first of an upcoming family of fully electric cars under the Recharge banner. By 2025,it expects half its sales globally to consist of fully electric cars, with the rest hybrids.

-- Ben Kilbey, ben.kilbey@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Daniel Lalor, daniel.lalor@spglobal.com