Volvo to Use Blockchain-Traceable Cobalt in Its Electric Car Batteries

Automaker Volvo announced on Nov. 6 that it will use cobalt tracked on a blockchain for its car batteries following the unveiling of its fully electric XC40 Recharge model last month.

“Transparent and reliable shared data network”

Volvo has reached an agreement with its two battery suppliers, namely China-based CATL and South Korea-based LG Chem. 

Volvo explains: 

“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 changed undetected.”

As part of the deal, the two suppliers will cover Volvo’s battery needs for the production of new Volvo and Polestar models over the next decade and track the required raw materials using blockchain technology.

Proving conflict-free material sourcing

With the initiative, Volvo is trying to prove that the materials used in the batteries of its electric vehicles are extracted without taking advantage of child labor and come from conflict-free zones. Volvo Cars head of procurement Martina Buchhauser explained:

“With blockchain technology we can take the next step towards ensuring full traceability of our supply chain and minimising any related risks, in close collaboration with our suppliers.”

The given system has been already tested by blockchain firm Circulor and software giant Oracle on CATL’s supply chain in August. LG Chem’s supply chain, on the other hand, is tracked by the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network, alongside enterprise blockchain firm R3 and technology giant IBM.

The data stored on-chain includes the cobalt’s origin, size, weight, chain of custody and information concerning whether the organizations involved respected the guidelines wrote by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The news comes as blockchain technology is being increasingly adopted in global supply chain traceability. As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, Coke One North America — the tech firm that manages IT operations for Coca Cola’s bottlers — is using a blockchain solution developed by German software firm SAP to manage its supply chain.


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