Tesla may get into the enterprise of mining minerals utilized in electrical car batteries if it desires to develop its product lineup and scale manufacturing, CEO Elon Musk mentioned throughout the firm’s annual shareholder assembly.
The feedback got here after Musk talked about plans for an electrical pickup truck and an intention to start manufacturing of its all-electric Class eight semi truck by the top of 2020. He mentioned these plans had been depending on Tesla’s capacity to fabricate a variety of lithium-ion battery cells.
“There’s not much point in adding product complexity if we don’t have enough batteries,” he mentioned. “That is complexity, but without gain.”
Tesla’s huge manufacturing facility in Sparks, Nevada was constructed to develop world battery capability, and in flip cut back the price of electrical automobiles. The plant, referred to as Gigafactory 1, produces Mannequin three electrical motors and battery packs, along with Tesla’s vitality storage merchandise, Powerwall and Powerpack. Panasonic, its most necessary accomplice as a provider and accomplice in that venture makes the cells. Tesla then makes use of the cells to make battery packs for its electrical automobiles.
For now, Tesla plans to match product rollout with scaling of manufacturing facility manufacturing. As soon as Tesla will increase manufacturing to a “very high level,” it would “look further down the supply chain and get into the mining business, I don’t know, maybe a little bit at least,” Musk exclaimed.
“We will do whatever we have to do to ensure that we can scale at the fastest rate possible,” he added.
Concern in regards to the provide of nickel, copper, lithium and associated minerals utilized in electrical batteries shouldn’t be new. Final month, Tesla’s head of minerals procurement mentioned throughout a closed assembly at an business convention that the corporate expects world shortages of nickel, copper and lithium within the close to future, Reuters reported.
Whereas a lot of the eye has targeted on lithium provides, copper and nickel are additionally weak. Years of underinvestment have depleted copper provides, prompting firms like Freeport-McMoRan to develop in the US and Indonesia.
It’s attainable that Tesla will give attention to nickel mining, a mineral that Musk has pushed the corporate to make use of extra of in lieu of cobalt.