Tianqi Lithium Pours $150M In Mercedes-Geely Smart EV Alliance

Giancarlo Perlas July 17, 2023

In a crucial move towards furthering the development of electric vehicles (EVs), Tianqi Lithium, China’s largest lithium miner, has announced a substantial investment of $150 million in the electric vehicle joint venture of renowned auto manufacturers Mercedes-Benz and Geely Holding Group. This strategic investment comes as part of Smart Mobility’s Series A financing round, aiming to raise between $250 million to $300 million, and will allow Tianqi Lithium to expand its business scope and strengthen collaboration with carmakers.

tianqi lithium
Image Source: Tianqi Lithium

Growing Integration in the New Energy Vehicle Industry

As the new energy vehicle industry continues to flourish, closer integration between the upstream and downstream sectors has become a prevailing trend. Recognizing the importance of securing a stable supply of lithium, a crucial component for EV batteries, automotive companies are increasingly investing in lithium mines to ensure their sustainable growth. Meanwhile, this latest development also underscores the interest of some mining companies in collaborating with automakers for added leverage.

Tianqi Lithium: Enhancing Business Collaboration and Insights

According to Yicai Global, Tianqi Lithium’s investment not only bolsters the company’s financial position but also grants them a 2.8 percent stake in Smart Mobility, valuing the company at approximately CNY40 billion ($5.6 billion). This new alliance will provide Tianqi Lithium with valuable insights into the needs of carmakers, enabling them to better align their business strategies with industry demands.

Ganfeng Lithium’s Precedent and the Rise of Electric Carmakers

Tianqi Lithium’s move follows in the footsteps of Ganfeng Lithium, another prominent Chinese lithium battery materials giant. Based on the source, Ganfeng Lithium had previously invested in GAC Aion and Voyah, electric carmakers controlled by Chinese state-owned GAC Group and Dongfeng Motor Group, respectively. This growing trend of auto firms investing in lithium mines underscores the importance of securing a sustainable supply chain and forging closer ties between key industry players.

Smart Mobility: Expanding Operations and Market Reach

Smart Mobility, a Singapore-based company, holds the majority stake in Smart Automobile, a Chinese entity that oversees the joint venture’s EV business. Despite reporting a net loss of CNY661 million ($92.6 million) in the first half of the year, Smart Mobility experienced a nearly three-fold increase in operating revenue, reaching CNY5.2 billion. Furthermore, they successfully delivered 23,500 EVs to the Chinese market between January and June, with shipments to Germany and France commencing as well.

Implications for the Future of Electric Vehicles

With Tianqi Lithium’s significant investment, the collaboration between Mercedes-Benz, Geely Holding Group, and Smart Mobility is poised for accelerated growth and innovation within the EV sector. By leveraging Tianqi Lithium’s expertise in lithium mining and the joint venture’s automotive prowess, this collaboration has the potential to drive advancements in battery technology, improve the range and performance of electric vehicles, and contribute to the global shift towards sustainable transportation solutions.

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX electric vehicle (Image Source: Mercedes-Benz Group Media)
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About Author

Giancarlo Perlas

Giancarlo Perlas is an economist by profession with a career spanning nearly two decades. His professional journey has seen him assume vital roles in various government and private organizations, particularly in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors. Alongside his civic and corporate pursuits is his love for cars, particularly those made by Mercedes-Benz. In 2012, he found himself with like-minded individuals within BenzInsider. From then on, he used the platform as a way to share his passion with the automotive community. Follow his Facebook page at, X (formerly Twitter) @giancarloperlas, and IG @benzinsider. View all posts by Giancarlo Perlas →

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