The future of the car looks to be electric, and General Motors is doing what it can to secure what it needs for batteries. The company just revealed a new partnership with Controlled Thermal Resources of California for access to American-sourced lithium.
Considering what the worldwide shortage of semiconductor chips has done to General Motors and the entire automotive industry, it’s not surprising that the company is making moves like this. By ensuring that its resources are ready and dedicated to its products, it can avoid backlogs like this in the future.
Going after lithium is also a smart idea because a move towards a greener future will make competition for the resource more fierce than ever. Forbes reports that the U.S. Department of Interior put it in a group of 35 critical mineral elements “important to the economic and national security of the United States.”
Getting lithium out of the earth isn’t particularly easy, and the old process usually involves generating a lot of pollution. GM’s partner, CTR, has reportedly developed a greener process, which is surely something GM will promote ahead of its new slate of EVs promised by 2023.
GM’s new lithium battery packs, called Ultium, will reportedly be built in cells that can be packed horizontally or vertically into a vehicle’s unique shape. This will make it easier for GM to load up battery capacity and extend driving range up to 400 miles.
We’ll see if other automakers follow suit and lock down their own sources of lithium for electric vehicles, and how many of them find domestic companies to work with. Having all-American batteries in EVs might go a long way towards swaying drivers over to their cause.