Regardless of what number of Tremendous Bowl commercials you run about your EV lineup, regardless of how a lot you speak about your EV management, you may solely promote as many EVs as you might have batteries lined up for. That appears easy sufficient, proper? The factor is, there’s a provide crunch not only for batteries, but additionally for the stuff that goes into the batteries, most famously lithium. That provide crunch is just anticipated to develop within the coming decade.
Just a few years in the past, in interviews concerning the EV revolution, battery consultants began ringing alarm bells for us. They emphasised that there might be no disruptive, exponential EV adoption curve if there wasn’t way more motion within the lithium extraction and processing house. The important thing downside: it takes years to develop a lithium mine; no automakers have been going to lock in orders for batteries or for battery provides 7–10 years forward of time; and with out locked-in orders, drastically increasing lithium extraction and processing was going to have to attend. It was a conundrum. The plea was thus: automakers, put money into mines, or lock in orders with mining firms. GM received the memo.
The most recent information from GM is that it has signed a cope with Lithium Americas to get lithium sourced from america — a $650 million deal. They’re investing collectively within the Thacker Cross lithium mine in Nevada, with GM placing a $650 million fairness funding into the lithium agency. If that title rings a bell, it’s in all probability as a result of Thacker Cross is “the most important identified supply of lithium in america and the third largest on the earth.” Good day, EV revolution!
In response to GM, that is “the largest-ever funding by an automaker to provide battery uncooked supplies.” That’s one thing.
“The settlement with GM is a significant milestone in shifting Thacker Cross towards manufacturing, whereas setting a basis for the separation of our U.S. and Argentine companies,” stated Lithium Americas President and CEO Jonathan Evans. “This relationship underscores our dedication to develop a sustainable home lithium provide chain for electrical automobiles. We’re happy to have GM as our largest investor, and we sit up for working collectively to speed up the vitality transition whereas spurring job creation and financial progress in America.”
However, wait, I’m not a lithiumologist, how a lot lithium is that and what does it imply so far as automobiles go? In response to Lithium Americas (bona fide lithiumologists), GM is investing sufficient cash right here for the lithium wanted for 1 million electrical automobiles a 12 months. GM had 2,273,942 car gross sales in 2022. With this Thacker Cross funding, in concept, GM’s virtually midway to changing its US new-vehicle fleet to 100% electrical. Moreover, it might properly be getting lithium from elsewhere as properly — not solely from Thacker Cross. So far as the fundamental timeline for Thacker Cross, lithium manufacturing is meant to start out there within the second half of 2026.
“GM has secured all of the battery materials we have to construct greater than 1 million EVs yearly in North America in 2025 and our future manufacturing will more and more draw from home sources like the location in Nevada we’re growing with Lithium Americas,” stated GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “Direct sourcing vital EV uncooked supplies and parts from suppliers in North America and free-trade-agreement nations helps make our provide chain safer, helps us handle cell prices, and creates jobs.”
So far as the batteries themselves, these shall be constructed by GM. “Lithium carbonate from Thacker Cross shall be utilized in GM’s proprietary Ultium battery cells,” the Michigan-based automaker writes. “GM is launching a broad portfolio of vans, SUVs, luxurious automobiles and lightweight business automobiles utilizing the Ultium Platform, together with the GMC HUMMER EV Pickup and SUV, GMC Sierra EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, Cadillac CELESTIQ, Chevrolet Silverado EV, Chevrolet Blazer EV, Chevrolet Equinox EV, BrightDrop Zevo 400 and BrightDrop Zevo 600.”
The businesses estimate that 1,000 building jobs and 500 operational jobs shall be created by this new Lithium Americas Thacker Cross improvement, whereas 6,000 building jobs and 5,000 operational jobs are anticipated for the primary three (of 4) Ultium Cells factories. “GM is at present constructing EVs in two Michigan crops, one Tennessee plant and one Ontario plant, and its suppliers are investing to create a sturdy North America-focused provide chain for EV uncooked supplies, processed materials and parts, with main tasks below manner in California, Texas, Ohio and Quebec.”
That is the “Inexperienced Economic system” President Obama touted 15 years in the past. It’s a core of the US manufacturing resurgence President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have been combating for as a part of the cleantech revolution. And it retains US firms and the USA as a complete from changing into too depending on overseas entities. That is management america has been needing.