Tesla Gigafactory Nevada battery cell production line (Photo: Super Factories)

Tesla building permits reveal unannounced ‘Lithium Lab’

Tesla Gigafactory Nevada battery cell production line (Credit: Super Factories)

Tesla has applied for a set of building permits regarding a previously unannounced “Lithium Lab,” which is likely an upcoming R&D facility.

It’s no secret that Tesla has been diving head first into developing more dependable lithium supplies, even going as far as opening its own lithium refinery in Southern Texas. Now, the company is also starting up a lithium research division, which will operate at an all-new research and development facility nicknamed “Lithium Lab” in Nevada.

The upcoming Lithium Lab has been unearthed by Electrek, which found a permit associated with Tesla being filed with the city of Sparks, Nevada, just outside of Reno and close to Tesla’s Giga Nevada production facility. While very little information was found within the permit application, Tesla notes some key details regarding its construction plans for the new facility.

“Tenant improvement projects for the purpose of a Manufacturing R&D (Lithium Lab) facility,” the application states. “The scope of work includes mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and minor architectural upgrades to support tool installation and process optimizations.”

Tesla has yet to announce what this facility will be used for, but with the name “Lithium Lab,” there are a few likely possibilities. Foremost, relating to its upcoming Texas-based refinery, the lab could work on refining technologies, helping to make the process as cheap and efficient as possible. Second, the facility could focus on new lithium extraction methods or processing systems, helping suppliers get lithium out of the ground more quickly. Third and finally, the facility could be used for battery development, testing different lithium-ion battery technologies to improve energy density.

Lending credibility to each of these possibilities is the location of the new Lithium Lab. Being found so close to Tesla’s Giga Nevada facility could indicate the new R&D location is focusing on battery tech. Though, with Nevada being North America’s most significant potential source of raw lithium, the lab could also work on refining or extraction technologies.

Hopefully, no matter what the facility will be doing, it can open quickly to help create an electrified economy, which Tesla has made clear, will be its top priority as it works to fulfill its “Master Plan Part 3.”

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Tesla building permits reveal unannounced ‘Lithium Lab’
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