Renault Group forms hybrid and lithium partnerships for sustainable, global reach

10 August 2021

Renault Group has made moves to provide top-quality electrified products worldwide through a partnership with Geely Holding Group and a lithium-supply deal with Vulcan Energy.  

The new partnership with Geely will develop hybrid vehicles in fast-growing Asian markets and comes after Renault Group pulled out of its joint venture (JV) with Dongfeng last year. The French carmaker transferred its shares to its Chinese counterpart and withdrew the Renault brand.

The new cooperation with Geely will focus initially on both China and South Korea. The two companies will share resources and technologies related to hybrid vehicles. In China, both parties will introduce Renault-branded hybrid models with the French business contributing on branding strategy, channel and service development, and defining an appropriate customer journey.

For South Korea, where Renault Samsung Motors has over two decades of experience, Renault and Geely will jointly explore the localisation of vehicles based on Lynk & Co’s energy-efficient vehicle platforms for local markets.

Renault’s announcement that it was withdrawing from its JV with Dongfeng alluded to further statements about activities in China. However, no other details were forthcoming until now. The carmaker undertook a review of its strategic partnerships in 2019, following the Carlos Ghosn affair.

The new arrangements give Renault another point of entry into the ever-growing Chinese market along side collaborations with Daimler and a its relationship with alliance partner, Nissan.

Growth fillip

As Asia turns towards electrified vehicles, the Geely agreement enables the parties to expand their market share of hybrid vehicles at a time when interest is growing. Geely will benefit from an experienced partner in both hybrid and electric technology, with the Renault branding adding value to the deal.

Both partners have said they will continue to seek more in-depth potential partnerships ‘under the spirit of open and innovative partnership mode.’

Renault may be expanding its horizons to new markets, but the carmaker is also keen to keep things closer to home when it comes to the development of electrically-chargeable vehicles (EVs).

Local lithium deal

Meanwhile, the lithium arrangement with Vulcan Energy is a five-year deal though which Renault Group will purchase between 6,000 and 17,000 metric-tonnes of battery-grade lithium chemicals produced in Germany per year. This will be used to produce batteries for the carmaker’s EVs at its ElectriCity hub in France. The deal allows Renault to keep up its ambitions of offering vehicles ‘made in Europe’.

Vulcan Energy will produce its battery-quality lithium chemical product from its combined geothermal energy and lithium resource while reducing lithium’s high carbon and water footprint on production. This means Renault Group will be able to avoid from 300kg to 700kg of CO2 generation for a 50kWh battery, helping in its goal of becoming carbon neutral from 2050.

‘We are very proud to partner with a European lithium producer with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions such as Vulcan Energy,’ commented Gianluca De Ficchy, Alliance EVP, purchasing and managing director of the Alliance Purchasing Organisation at Renault Group. ‘Our environmental and social responsibility is at the heart of the Renaulution [strategy plan], and this must also apply to the providers we partner with.’