This will make battery production less harmful to the environment.
General Motors may be very short on electric cars at present, and those that are available are not the safest out there (Chevrolet Bolt, we're looking at you). The company is aiming to change that and has set the goal of going all-electric by 2035. This is a fine ambition, but switching to electric cars is not the only way that the automaker intends to reduce carbon emissions. It is working on ways of making EVs cleaner by offering renewable charging sources, and now the company has announced another way of doing this. According to reports, GM has signed an agreement with company called Controlled Thermal Resources to extract lithium from superheated waters beneath the Salton Sea in the desert of Southern California.
This is a great idea because lithium, which all EVs need for their batteries, is about to become even more sought after as more automakers offer electric cars and more buyers start to adopt them. At the moment, most lithium comes from petalite ore in Australia and Chile, but very few other countries have rich reserves of the element, and as demand increases, so will the scarcity of the mineral. The Salton Sea is an ancient water pocket that has formed and dried up numerous times over the millennia and its lithium content was discovered when the sea was accidentally filled up about a century ago.
It's unclear how much of a lithium deposit may be found beneath the sea, but the California Energy Commission estimates that the Salton Sea area could produce as much as 600,000 tons of lithium per year. That's almost 12 times what Australia produced in 2019 and loads more than the entire planet's lithium industry produced in all of 2019 with just 85,000 tons. GM is Controlled Thermal Resources' first investor in the project and is expected to start receiving lithium deliveries from CTR by 2024. Not only does this solve the problem of where to get more lithium, but the vast quantities expected to be drawn from below the sea will reduce its cost too. Affordable EVs could be much more plentiful in the coming decade.