Tesla in Talks with Chile's Top Lithium Producer On a Plant to Supply Raw Materials for its Batteries
【Summary】Tesla is hedging its bets on lithium production in Chile. The Financial Times reports that Tesla is in talks with Chile’s largest lithium producer Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM) to invest in a lithium processing plant.
Tesla is hedging its bets on lithium production in Chile. The Financial Times reports that Tesla is in talks with Chile's largest lithium producer Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM) to invest in a processing plant. If successful, the deal would mark Tesla's first attempt at securing battery raw materials, which have soared in price due to the growing popularity of electric cars.
As part of the deal, Tesla might agree to build a processing plant in Chile to produce the high-quality lithium it needs for its batteries, Eduardo Bitran, the executive vice-president of Chilean development agency Corfo said.
"With an increasing supply of lithium, Chile is key for any company that wants to become global in electro-mobility," Bitman told Financial Times. "Being close to Chile or having a strategic alliance in Chile becomes a strategic factor for a company like Tesla." he added.
Reuters quoted Chilean officials saying that the two companies are "exploring" agreements for "important volumes" of lithium hydroxide, a key raw material for lithium-ion batteries, like those used in Tesla's electric vehicles. Chile, Australia, and China are the world's largest producers of lithium, although Chile is the least expensive source. SQM said it would up its quotas to meet Tesla's demand.
Often referred to as "white gold", lithium is used as an electrolyte material and is considered key to any automotive company's ambitions for supplying electric power for transportation. Lithium prices have increased 200% over the last five years as demand increases. As the race for electric vehicles heats up, automakers are scrambling to secure their own steady supplies. Earlier this year, Toyota said it had secured a 15% stake in an Argentinian lithium producer.
Tesla must satisfy massive demand for lithium in its vehicles batteries, and also those in the Tesla Powerwall, as it struggles to ramp up production of its Model 3, its first mass-market electric vehicle. Despite delays, the company wants to produce at least 500,000 vehicles annually by the end of 2018. To accomplish this, Tesla will need an abundant supply of cheap lithium, something that SQM is able to supply.
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
Car-Sharing Platform Turo Raises $250 Million From Media Company IAC
Lidar Startup Luminar Raises $100 Million in Latest Funding Round, Is Working with 12 of the World’s Largest Automotive Companies
Volkswagen Investing $2.6 Billion in Ford’s Self-Driving Arm Argo AI and Will Collaborate On Electric & Autonomous Vehicles
Tesla Rival Xpeng Motors Launches a More Advanced Version of its G3 Electric SUV
BMW Unveils the Fully-Electric MINI Cooper With a Long List of Tech and Not Much Range
BMW Installs 100 EV Charging Stations at U.S. National Parks
Waymo is Offering Free WiFi in its Robo-Taxis to Lure in Riders
Former Tesla VP of Production Joins Rival Electric Automaker Lucid Motors
- Workhorse, the EV Company Looking to Move Into GM’s Shuttered Ohio Plant Gets a $25 Million Cash Infusion
- Zomato Tests Drones for Food Deliveries in India
- Baidu Denies Planning Spin-off of its Apollo Autonomous Driving Platform
- Silicon Valley Startup Aurora to Work with Fiat Chrysler on a Self-Driving Platform
- Ford Plans to Deploy 100 Self-driving Vehicles in 2019
- Tesla's Senior Production Executive at Fremont Factory Quits
- General Motors Holding Talks to Sell Lordstown Factory to Startup Workhorse
- Driverless Sensor Startup Sense Photonics Raises $26 Million in Series A Funding
- Here's Why the Tesla, Maxwell EV Battery Pack Could be an Industry Game Changer
- BMW's Hybrid cars to Switch to Electric-Only Mode in Polluted Cities