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Technology takeover plans discarded: Tesla wants to gain its own lithium

05:05  02 october  2020
05:05  02 october  2020 Source:   finanzen.net

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(Reuters). Tesla Inc's plan to produce its own lithium for electric vehicle batteries close to its Nevada Gigafactory Tesla said its process won't involve acid, fueling further questions. "If Tesla really wants to fly solo, we're talking about four to five years to really see any kind of lithium production."

Tesla proposes to open its own lithium mine. Tesla (TSLA) made some interesting claims in the recent battery day presentation. The battery day presentation included a brief statement about Tesla ’s plans to mine their own lithium from lithium -bearing clay deposits in Nevada.

After Tesla has dropped its takeover plans for a company in Nevada, the US electric car manufacturer now wants to dig for lithium itself.

Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images © Provided by Finanz.net Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

• Tesla deals with lithium production

• Cypress Development takeover probably from the table

• Tesla plans its own lithium production

Lithium plays an important role in the e-car market because it is the raw material is required for the production of the battery cells. Since the automotive industry is currently moving away from the conventional gasoline engine towards the electric car, it can be assumed that the demand for lithium will increase significantly in the future. Since new mining projects and expansions have been increasingly stopped in the past two years due to price drops, the lithium supply could lag behind demand. So, according to Albemarle , a leading lithium producer, automakers are now trying to get more involved in their supply chains.

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Tesla is attempting to develop its own battery cells, CNBC's Lora Kolodny reported, citing five current and recent employees. The electric-car maker is reportedly creating designs and prototypes for lithium -ion battery cells at what CNBC refers to as a "skunkworks lab" near its Fremont, California

Tianqi owns a 51 percent stake in Talison Lithium , which runs the mine, while Albemarle owns a 49 percent stake in Talison via its acquisition of The Chinese mining company has interests in six lithium resources in Australia, Argentina, China and Ireland, but its primary source of lithium raw

Tesla secures rights for lithium mining

US electric car manufacturer Tesla is also involved in lithium extraction and until recently had discussions with Cypress Development , a company that wants to extract lithium from clay deposits in southwestern Nevada - but could Both parties, as Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter, do not come to an agreement. Now Elon Musk announced on Tesla's "Battery Day" that the company had secured its own rights to mine lithium in Nevada - the area, as teslamag reports, is around 4,000 hectares.

Tesla uses clay to extract lithium, but instead of using expensive chemical reagents, the metal is extracted with sodium chloride or table salt. Musk called this a "very sustainable method".

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Lithium mining today, so why not nickel mining tomorrow? That’s a question which investors in Tesla and other electric car (EV) A second U.S.-focused lithium deal added to the intrigue with Tesla signing a five-year contract with a small company which has plans to produce lithium in North Carolina.

Tesla wants to cut battery costs

This could be an important step forward for the Californian automaker, because Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised to bring a bargain Tesla onto the market at "Battery Day" in Fremont, California. "We are confident that we can build a very, very convincing electric car for $ 25,000," reports the dpa Musk news agency. But in order to bring such an inexpensive model onto the market, the US automaker must first cut its battery costs - by 50 percent, according to the plan. Musk believes that it will be possible to achieve drastic cost reductions in battery manufacturing, but only in about three years. The company's own lithium production could, if it was then successfully started, support the company in its plans. Tesla also already has a battery factory in Nevada - the way from recovered lithium to further processing in the battery factory would not be far.

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Tesla is working on making its own batteries. But Tesla is shaking up its six-year partnership with Panasonic. In April, as Panasonic froze plans to invest in the expansion of the Nevada Gigafactory 1, Musk tweeted that Tesla had “no choice but to use other suppliers for Powerwall/Powerpack cells.”

Building its own batteries would enable Tesla to become as vertically integrated as possible, which is Musk’s long-held ambition. Nevertheless, its engineers are developing and prototyping lithium -ion battery cells, along with new equipment and manufacturing processes with the aim to produce them

In addition to its own lithium production, which is intended to increase capacities and prepare the company for the increasing demand for electric cars, Tesla is also looking for cooperation with companies that are active in lithium production to secure sufficient quantities of lithium. In September, the electric car manufacturer signed a five-year contract with the Australian company Piedmont Lithium .

skepticism among some analysts

analysts are meanwhile somewhat skeptical of Tesla's plans. Sharon Mustri, an analyst at BloombergNEF, explains how Bloomberg reports that extracting lithium from clay deposits is considered too difficult and too expensive due to the low recovery rates. "Lithium has never been made from clay in commercial quantities," said Chris Berry of House Mountain Partners.

It remains to be seen whether Tesla can achieve better results than other companies with its method of extracting lithium from clay. Finanzen.net editorial team

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