General Motors has deepened its partnership with mining technology venture Energy Exploration Technologies Inc. (EnergyX) as it looks to establish a reliable lithium supply chain in the U.S.
EnergyX uses direct lithium extraction (DLE), a process both companies say is more cost-effective and sustainable. Under the revised partnership, GM will help the business continue developing its proprietary technology to grow the nation’s domestic supply. The automaker is also contributing towards the venture’s second round of investments, which it hopes will raise $50 million in additional funds. EnergyX is also in the process of constructing a new site in Texas.
The arrangement to develop EnergyX’s lithium extraction technology is the latest in GM’s efforts to ramp up its electrification strategy, while it looks to make good on its promise of building a profitable EV lineup by 2025. If the new partnership proves to be a success, the automaker will have removed a major obstacle in the way of its goal. The brand is also working with LG Energy Solution to bring down the cost of battery cell production, and recently invested in the world’s third largest lithium mine located in Nevada.
The difficulties inherent in lithium acquisition are a key reason EVs continue to remain expensive and difficult to produce. While the metal is found in considerable quantities throughout the globe, few mining or refining operations exist in the U.S., an issue automakers are now incentivized to fix due to the Inflation Reduction Act’s domestic sourcing requirements for EV batteries. Improving the nation’s supply would help make the vehicles cheaper, spurring adoption rates and infrastructure development.