Tesla has officially started construction on its new lithium refinery near Corpus Christi, Texas. The facility is expected to produce enough battery-grade lithium to support the production of 1 million electric vehicles (EVs) per year. Initially announced in September 2022, the lithium refinery aims to supply lithium hydroxide for Tesla’s battery cell production at Gigafactory Texas in Austin.
Although construction was initially slated to begin in Q4 2022, Tesla has now officially broken ground on the project. The company plans to invest $365 million in the lithium plant, which is set to employ 165 full-time workers and create an additional 250 construction jobs for about two years. According to CEO Elon Musk, the factory will be operational by 2025.
Tesla intends to pioneer a new production technology with this factory, aiming to improve industry efficiency. While details about the technology are scarce, the company claims that it streamlines the production process and reduces waste. Tesla will both import lithium ore and utilize lithium from recycled batteries for the refinery.
Despite this new facility, Tesla still plans to purchase battery-grade lithium from other suppliers, as Musk believes lithium refining to be a lucrative industry that other companies should also participate in, and the electric car industry will need as much battery-grade lithium as it can get its hands on.
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