General Motors has agreed to form a strategic investment and commercial collaboration with Controlled Thermal Resources to secure local and low-cost lithium in the U.S. This lithium will be produced through a ‘closed-loop’, direct extraction process that results in a smaller physical footprint and lower carbon dioxide emissions when compared to traditional processes.
Most lithium used in lithium-ion batteries is currently mined and processed outside of the U.S.
The relationship between GM and CTR is expected to accelerate the adoption of lithium extraction methods that cause less impact to the environment. A significant amount of GM’s future battery-grade lithium hydroxide and carbonate could come from CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power development in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field, located in California.
GM will be the first company to make a multi-million dollar investment in CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen project.
The first stage of the project is expected to begin yielding lithium in 2024, helping GM to meet its aspiration of eliminating tailpipe emissions from light-duty vehicles by 2035.
Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, says: “Lithium is critical to battery production today and will only become more important as consumer adoption of EVs increases, and we accelerate towards our all-electric future. By securing and localizing the lithium supply chain in the U.S., we’re helping ensure our ability to make powerful, affordable, high mileage EVs while also helping to mitigate environmental impact and bring more low-cost lithium to the market as a whole. GM looks forward to working with CTR, in addition to state and local leaders, in achieving these goals.”
GM has committed to increasing its EV and AV investments from 2020 through 2025 to $35 billion, representing a 75 percent increase from its initial commitment announced prior to the pandemic.