Tesla has plenty of demand for its electric vehicles (EVs) but has had a lot of trouble keeping up the supply. Now, according to reporting from Electrek, the EV manufacturer is working on building a “Lithium Lab” in Nevada, presumably to be able to produce more of its own batteries.
At its recent Investor Day, Tesla established a goal of scaling its production capacity to ten times its current level by the end of the decade, Electrek reported. To that end, the Lithium Lab, which will be separate from Tesla’s Nevada “Gigafactory,” will be located in Sparks, Nevada, just outside of Reno.
It is not yet clear what exactly will happen at the Lithium Lab, but something battery-related is a good bet. Lithium-ion batteries are what power EVs, which, as an alternative to traditional gas-powered cars, produce much less planet-warming gas pollution.
However, lithium mining also comes with its own difficulties and environmental drawbacks, which have posed problems for Tesla in the past when it comes to getting enough batteries made to keep up with demand.
Tesla is also building a lithium refinery facility in Texas. Taken together, these two projects signal an intention on Tesla’s part to manufacture more batteries in addition to outsourcing aspects of battery production.
Some of Electrek’s commenters, however, questioned whether doubling down on lithium-ion batteries is the right way to go now that cheaper, more environmentally sustainable alternatives, such as sodium-ion batteries, exist.
“It may be more than just a ‘lithium lab,’” wrote one commenter. “Don’t be surprised that other battery materials could be researched at this lab, particularly sodium and phosphorus.”
“Tesla should be building a new Sodium lab,” wrote another. “Sodium or Magnesium is the future of BEV’s, not Lithium. Lithium shortages will make it impossible to have reasonably priced cars with big enough batteries for the future.”
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