Tesla formally broke floor Monday on a Texas lithium refinery, making it the one U.S. automaker to refine its personal lithium.
CEO Elon Musk stated the refinery will produce sufficient battery grade lithium for 1 million electrical automobiles by 2025, which might make Tesla the biggest processor of lithium in North America. Tesla will proceed to depend on current suppliers like Albermarle and Livent because it goals to achieve its 2023 gross sales aim of round 1.8 million vehicles globally.
Lithium is the important thing important materials in lithium-ion batteries that energy the electrical automobile revolution. Right now, the U.S. produces simply 1% of the world’s lithium, with Australia, Chile and China main the way in which. The Biden administration’s EV tax credit score goals to spur extra home battery materials sourcing and manufacturing and cut back the U.S.’s reliance on China, which hosts 60% of the world’s lithium refining capability and practically 80% of the world’s lithium-ion battery manufacturing capability.
“As we glance forward a number of years, a basic choke level within the development of electrical automobiles is the supply of battery grade lithium,” stated Musk, through the ground-breaking ceremony outdoors of Corpus Christi.
The CEO drove as much as the occasion in a Cybertruck full with a roof rack accent that caught the eye of business watchers. Authorities officers comparable to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Nueces County Decide Connie Scott and Deputy Assistant Secretary on the U.S. Dept. of Vitality Kathleen Hogan attended the occasion.
Musk stated the corporate goals to complete building on the refinery subsequent 12 months, with full scale manufacturing slated for 2025. The chief described the timeline as “extraordinarily quick by regular requirements.” That could be true, nevertheless it’s slower than Tesla had initially projected. Throughout Tesla’s Investor Day in March, Drew Baglino, senior vp of powertrain and power engineering, stated the corporate aimed to have the refinery operational by the tip of this 12 months and begin manufacturing early subsequent 12 months.
Baglino additionally stated on the time that the refinery would have a 50 gigawatt-hour per 12 months capability, one thing Musk didn’t verify throughout Monday’s occasion.
Throughout Investor Day, Musk additionally inspired different startups to get entangled in refining lithium, which he likened to “minting cash.”
“We’re doing it as a result of we’ve got to, not as a result of we need to,” Musk stated beforehand.
Tesla will make investments $375 million to construct the ability, in line with filings with the Texas Comptroller. The refinery is Tesla’s newest growth into Texas, which started when the corporate moved its headquarters to the state from California in 2021. The automaker invested practically $6 billion into its Austin gigafactory final 12 months. In January, Tesla stated it deliberate to take a position one other $770 million to develop the manufacturing unit to incorporate cathode and drive unit manufacturing and a battery cell testing web site.