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 possibly can solely promote as many EVs as you will 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 barely anticipated to develop within the coming decade.
A number of years in the past, in interviews in regards to the EV revolution, battery specialists began ringing alarm bells for us. They emphasised that there may very well be no disruptive, exponential EV adoption curve if there wasn’t far more motion within the lithium extraction and processing house. The important thing downside: it takes years to develop a lithium mine; no automakers had been going to lock in orders for batteries or for battery provides 7–10 years forward of time; and with out locked-in orders, tremendously increasing lithium extraction and processing was going to have to attend. It was a conundrum. The plea was thus: automakers, spend money on mines, or lock in orders with mining firms. GM received the memo.
The newest information from GM is that it has signed a cope with Lithium Americas to get lithium sourced from the US — a $650 million deal. They’re investing collectively within the Thacker Move lithium mine in Nevada, with GM placing a $650 million fairness funding into the lithium agency. If that identify rings a bell, it’s in all probability as a result of Thacker Move is “the most important identified supply of lithium in the US and the third largest on the planet.” Good day, EV revolution!
In accordance with GM, that is “the largest-ever funding by an automaker to supply battery uncooked supplies.” That’s one thing.
“The settlement with GM is a significant milestone in transferring Thacker Move towards manufacturing, whereas setting a basis for the separation of our U.S. and Argentine companies,” mentioned 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 look ahead to working collectively to speed up the vitality transition whereas spurring job creation and financial development in America.”
However, wait, I’m not a lithiumologist, how a lot lithium is that and what does it imply so far as vehicles go? In accordance with 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 Move funding, in idea, GM’s nearly midway to changing its US new-vehicle fleet to 100% electrical. Moreover, it may properly be getting lithium from elsewhere as properly — not solely from Thacker Move. So far as the essential timeline for Thacker Move, 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 assets like the location in Nevada we’re creating with Lithium Americas,” mentioned GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “Direct sourcing important EV uncooked supplies and elements 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 will likely be constructed by GM. “Lithium carbonate from Thacker Move will likely be utilized in GM’s proprietary Ultium battery cells,” the Michigan-based automaker writes. “GM is launching a broad portfolio of vehicles, SUVs, luxurious automobiles and light-weight 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 will likely be created by this new Lithium Americas Thacker Move growth, 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 vegetation, one Tennessee plant and one Ontario plant, and its suppliers are investing to create a strong North America-focused provide chain for EV uncooked supplies, processed materials and elements, with main tasks underneath approach in California, Texas, Ohio and Quebec.”
That is the “Inexperienced Financial 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 preventing 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 international entities. That is management the US has been needing.