(CTN News) – In a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the company would build a lithium refinery in Texas. This refinery will provide enough lithium metal to produce 1 million electric vehicles (EVs) by 2025.
Musk said Tesla must refining and processing lithium if it is to meet its ambitious EV sales goals. The facility will push Tesla outside its core focus of building cars.
Musk said at the ground-breaking ceremony on Monday that battery grade lithium is a fundamental choke point in the advancement of electric vehicles.
It is expected that factory will be completed next year so that full production can begin a year later.
Only Tesla will refine its own lithium in North America. As of right now, China dominates the processing of many essential minerals, including lithium.
Governor Abbott announced at the ceremony that Texas wants to become self-reliant, not dependent on any foreign hostile nation for what it needs. Lithium is what we need.
Despite Musk’s lack of precise information, he said the automaker would continue to purchase lithium from its vendors, such as Albemarle Corp (ALB.N) and Livent Corp (LTHM.N).
Tesla will rely on lithium suppliers, so it will not do everything on its own.
Despite the fact that the facility won’t be online until later in the decade, Albemarle will begin construction next year.
Despite supply agreements with Piedmont Lithium Inc (PLL.O) and others, Musk did not mention where the company will obtain spodumene concentrate, which is a coarse form of lithium.
Rather than using sulfuric acid and other strong chemicals, Tesla says it will use soda ash, which is less hazardous to the environment than the industry’s conventional refining process.
Despite local media reports about environmental concerns over the refinery, Musk said “you could live right next to it.”.
The announcement by on Monday was not Tesla’s first attempt to produce lithium. Musk told Tesla shareholders in 2020 that it had acquired 10,000 acres in Nevada where it would produce lithium from clay deposits, a first for the industry.
Tesla has not yet deployed its proprietary method for sustainably producing lithium from those Nevada clay deposits, as Musk boasted.
Entrepreneurs should enter the lithium refining business, Musk says.
A month ago, during a conference call, he asked, “Can someone please help us?”.
Last month, Tesla said that a recent plunge in lithium prices and other commodities would help its bruised margins.
In 2021, Tesla moved its headquarters from California to Texas, resulting in the refinery expansion. In addition to SpaceX, Musk’s other companies are also located in Texas.
“We are proud that he calls Texas home,” Abbott said, calling and Musk “Texas’ economic juggernauts.”