Efforts continue to reduce America's reliance on Asia for the critical materials and minerals used to make EVs.
The Biden administration will support a Nevada lithium mine as it seeks to establish a more robust domestic supply of the material, which is essential for making electric vehicle batteries.
The mine would be just the second in the United States to receive backing from the Biden administration, with the Energy Department issuing a conditional commitment amounting to $700 million.
Lithium shortages have been identified as a significant challenge as EV market share rises. Right now, America is still heavily reliant on China for lithium, which doesn't align with tax credit rules requiring EVs to be built domestically. Therefore, facilities like this Nevada lithium mine are more important than ever.
The $700 million is for Ioneer Ltd.'s Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project, reports Bloomberg.
This facility is said to be a prospective supplier for both Ford and Toyota and can eventually produce sufficient lithium for 370,000 EVs annually. For reference, Ford sold 61,575 EVs last year - including almost 40,000 Mustang Mach-E models - making it the second best-selling maker of EVs in America.
Considering that Blue Oval's EV sales alone climbed by 126% last year and other brands have seen significant increases in EV sales, it's no surprise that the demand for lithium is projected to surpass current production by 2030. That's the same year the Biden administration hopes for half of all US car sales to be for EVs and plug-in hybrids.
The funding for the lithium mine in Nevada comes from the energy department's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, and the facility plans to start producing lithium in 2026.
"Developing a US supply chain for these materials is a national priority as the country works toward energy independence," said the department in a statement. "A core focus within the strategy is increasing the availability of the critical materials that are essential components of the clean energy technologies necessary for reaching national climate economic goals."
Many other domestic projects are in motion to help reduce America's reliance on Asia, including Tesla co-founder JB Straubel's company, which recently announced a new Battery Materials Campus in South Carolina. This project will help eliminate the 50,000+ mile global supply chain for anode and cathode components.