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GM has placed a bet on the domestic supply of lithium by leading a $50-million funding round for a mining startup dubbed Energy Exploration Technologies, or EnergyX.
The company also said it had entered a strategic partnership with EnergyX to jointly develop the latter’s lithium extraction and processing technology.
The move is GM’s latest in securing as many links in the EV manufacturing supply chain as it stands ready to reap the benefits of pro-EV legislation approved last year by Congress in the Inflation Reduction Act.
The biggest carmaker in the United States announced plans to go all-electric in 2021, following the lead of its European peers. Soon after that announcement, GM entered into a partnership with MIT spinoff SolidEnergy Systems to speed up the commercialization of lithium metal batteries that could dramatically cut electric vehicle costs and extend range.
Fate hasn’t always smiled on GM in its EV ambitions, however. In the same year that the company pledged to go all-electric in the future, it had to recall 140,000 Bolts on fire hazard concerns linked to the vehicles’ battery.
Then the costs of raw materials began to climb higher, analysts began warning of looming shortages, and the prices of electric vehicles followed suit, making sales more problematic, despite generous government support.
“Affordability and range are two major barriers to mass EV adoption,” GM’s president, Mark Reuss said back in 2021.
Like all other carmakers, the top seller in the U.S. is still working on overcoming these two barriers, and a partnership with a local lithium producer is part of the solution. The IRA, among other things, aims to incentivize the local development of EV raw materials and does it financially.
GM plans to have 30 EV models on the market by 2025. Currently, it has about a dozen such models.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com