Tesla lithium supply to come from Quebec, meeting IRA requirements for EV tax credits [Opinion]

Credit: Piedmont Lithium

Tesla will be receiving lithium supplies from Quebec, giving it an edge in meeting the Inflation Reduction Act’s battery requirements for EV tax credits. 

A Major Source of Li in North America

In a press release, Tesla lithium supplier Piedmont Lithium Inc. announced the official restart of commercial spodumene concentrate production in North America. Spodumene concentrate is the most common lithium-containing rock, estimated to contain around 8% Li2O. 

Piedmont and Sayona Mining Limited invested USD 80 million to restart the North American Lithium (NAL) project in Quebec, becoming the first major source of new spodumene production in North America. Piedmont predicts NAL will be the only major spodumene source in North America in the next two years. Sayona aims to produce 226,000 metric tons of spodumene concentrate annually and start commercial shipments by Q3 2023.

Tesla & LG Chem’s Li Deals with Piedmont

In the near term, Sayona is concentrating on fulfilling four shipments equal to 120,000 metric tons of spodumene from the NAL. Tesla and LG Chem are among the list of battery and electric vehicle manufacturers that will receive spodumene concentrate from NAL in Quebec. 

Tesla and Piedmont have a multi-year deal for spodumene concentrate through the end of 2025. The deal states that Piedmont will deliver around 125,000 metric tons of spodumene to Tesla by the second half of this year. 

South Korean battery maker LG Chem also has a deal with Piedmont for 50,000 metric tons of spodumene, starting Q3 2023. The Asian battery supplier expects to extract ~30,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide from the spodumene supplied by Piedmont, enough material to support around 500,000 high-performance electric cars. 

Tesla Ahead of the Curve

Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department released stricter battery requirements for EV tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA now requires 50% of battery components to be produced or assembled in North America in order for an electric vehicle to qualify for a $3,750 credit. In addition, at least 40% of the minerals used in an EV battery must come from the United States or a free trade partner to qualify for a $3,730 credit.

Lithium is a key ingredient of batteries in electric cars. Tesla and LG Chem are ahead of the curve when meeting IRA’s battery requirements, considering both companies will be receiving Li from the first major lithium source in North America. 

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Tesla lithium supply to come from Quebec, meeting IRA requirements for EV tax credits [Opinion]
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