GM isn’t just leaning on technical prowess to sell you on its EV battery technology — it’s hoping eco-friendliness (and frugality) will play a role, too. The automaker has struck a deal with Controlled Thermal Resources to obtain more environmentally responsible lithium. The team-up will source lithium from California made using a process that generates lower CO2 emissions than the usual pit mines or evaporation pods.
CTR’s project, Hell’s Kitchen, will use a closed-loop system that extracts lithium directly from geothermal brine. GM’s arrangement gives it “first rights” to lithium from the first stage of Hell’s Kitchen, plus an option for a multi-year partnership.
The approach should not only reduce the overall environmental footprint of GM’s EVs, but secure “low-cost” lithium that could lower prices.
The initial Hell’s Kitchen stage isn’t expected to produce lithium until 2024. However, GM sees this collaboration as important to its goal of dropping combustion engine cars by 2035. If the automaker can both improve the value of its EVs and make a stronger case for their green credentials, it might boost sales and have an easier time transitioning away from gas and diesel.