The Race Is On: GM Makes Multimillion Dollar Investment In U.S. Lithium Project
We have been extensively documenting the amount of natural resources that are going to be necessary to make the world-wide shift to EVs that it looks like the globe is on the cusp on. Considering the amount of raw materials necessary, and the way that they are mined, is paramount in trying to visualize the carbon footprint of EVs that use many rare earth minerals in their batteries.
And so, as the industry shifts more toward EV, so comes new infrastructure – and that’s exactly what General Motors is planning, according to a new report from Reuters. The major U.S. automaker is now investing in a U.S. lithium project that could become the largest in the country by 2024.
It makes GM one of the first automakers to develop its own source of lithium. The company said last week it will be making a “multimillion-dollar investment” and will help develop Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) Ltd’s Hell’s Kitchen geothermal brine project near California’s Salton Sea.
GM Director of Electrification Strategy Tim Grewe said: “This will supply a sizeable amount of our lithium needs.”
The lithium from the project will be used to build EVs in the U.S., and General Motors engineers and scientists will visit the site once pandemic travel restrictions have lifted.
Reuters speculates that the move could spark a race for other automakers to secure lithium. Demand for lithium is expected to outstrip supply by 20% within 4 years, the report notes.
It is estimated that up to 60,000 tons of lithium could come from the Hell’s Kitchen project by 2024. This is enough to make “roughly 6 million EVs”. It would make the site the largest U.S. producer of lithium.
Rod Colwell, CTR’s chief executive, said: “There’s a great window of opportunity here to develop more lithium in the United States.”
General Motors is also reportedly talking with other U.S. lithium companies for supply, Grewe said.
Of other global EV manufacturers, only China’s Great Wall Motor Co. and BYD have also invested in lithium producers. But even they haven’t taken the “aggressive step” to vertically integrate like GM, the report says.
Mon, 07/05/2021 – 05:15