GM and a company called Lithium Americas are investing in a lithium mine located in Nevada. The Thacker Pass mine is supposedly the largest known source of lithium in the United States and the third largest known site in the world. GM will invest $650 million and in return get exclusive access to the mine’s first phase of production. The lithium will be used in GM’s Ultium batteries which will power vehicles like the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
Lithium is a Key Component in EV Batteries
Lithium Americas estimates that it will be able to mine enough lithium every year to supply batteries for up to a million vehicles. Lithium is a key material in lithium-ion batteries and stands up well to repeated charging and discharging. Lithium also enables fast charging, which is becoming more and more important as companies compete to extend range and cut the down time necessary for charging. Lithium also delivers higher energy density and offers more usable capacity than other battery types.
In recent years, semiconductor chip shortages have forced automakers to cut back on vehicle production. GM CEO Mary Barra is trying to guarantee sources for as many raw materials as possible so that the automaker doesn’t face the same shortages with battery components.
"GM has secured all the battery material we need to build more than 1 million EVs annually in North America in 2025 and our future production will increasingly draw from domestic resources like the site in Nevada we're developing with Lithium Americas," said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. "Direct sourcing critical EV raw materials and components from suppliers in North America and free-trade-agreement countries helps make our supply chain more secure, helps us manage cell costs, and creates jobs."
"The agreement with GM is a major milestone in moving Thacker Pass toward production, while setting a foundation for the separation of our U.S. and Argentine businesses," said Lithium Americas President and CEO Jonathan Evans. "This relationship underscores our commitment to develop a sustainable domestic lithium supply chain for electric vehicles. We are pleased to have GM as our largest investor, and we look forward to working together to accelerate the energy transition while spurring job creation and economic growth in America."
GM Has at Least Ten EV Vehicles Plan That Will Need the Lithium-Ion Batteries
Just this week, GMC started producing its 2024 HUMMER EV SUV. It rides on the Ultium platform, just like its larger sibling, the GMC HUMMER EV Supertruck. The Ultium platform will also underpin the GMC Sierra EV pickup, The Chevrolet Silverado EV, Chevrolet Blazer EV, Chevrolet Equinox EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, Cadillac CELESTIQ and two BrightDrop delivery trucks. Those are just the production vehicles already announced. Hybrid vehicles like the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray do not use the Ultium platform.
Production at the Thacker Pass mine is projected to begin in the second half of 2026. GM has the rights to the first phase of production and has the right of first refusal on Phase 2 production. Lithium Americas expects Thacker Pass to create 1,000 jobs in construction and 500 in operations. While this is the automaker’s largest investment so far in battery raw materials, it has made other major investments to obtain other rare battery raw materials.
Mary Conway is a professional automotive journalist and has decades of experience specializing in automotive news analysis. She covered the Detroit Three for more than twenty years for the ABC affiliate, in Detroit. Her affection for the Motor City comes naturally. Her father ran a gas station while Mary was growing up, in Wisconsin.
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