Tesla secures extended supply contract with lithium producer Livent

(Credit: Smnt/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Philadelphia-based lithium producer Livent recently announced that it is extending its multi-year supply agreement with Tesla through 2021, with a commitment to provide the electric car maker with higher volumes of the valuable material than in 2020. The update was shared by Livent in its third-quarter 2020 results, which were released today. 

With Tesla now looking to start producing its own batteries, the company needs a steady supply chain of raw materials. CEO Elon Musk emphasized as much during Battery Day when he highlighted that Tesla would be producing batteries in the near future at unheard volumes in the industry. Possibly in relation to Musk’s goals, Livent noted in its Q3 2020 results that it is discussing the framework for a long-term supply partnership with Tesla beyond 2021. 

Livent also revealed that it would be forming a joint venture to purchase part of Canada’s Nemaska lithium project, which seemed to be an effort to secure more resources to ramp its lithium production capabilities.

The deal is expected to boost Livent’s output. However, Livent’s venture with the company does pose some risks including Nemaska’s high operating costs, as per a report from Boosting lithium production is a key priority for the Philadelphia-based company, especially with the rising demand for electric vehicles, particularly for Tesla’s lineup. This was highlighted by Paul Graves, president and chief executive officer of Livent, in a statement. 

“Livent continues to focus on strengthening its competitive position so we can support our customers with their future needs.  Our ongoing partnership with Tesla and our agreement to invest in New Nemaska are examples of this.  The major priorities we are seeing from our customers – the shift to lithium hydroxide and the growing importance of localized, sustainable supply chains – are core advantages for Livent that will continue to position us as an industry leader for years to come,” Graves said. 

Tesla shows no sign of slowing down vehicle production. This year, the EV automaker aims to produce at least 500,000 electric vehicles and that goal could significantly increase in 2021. For this growth to be possible, Tesla would need to secure more batteries for its vehicles, as emphasized by Elon Musk repeatedly over the years. For more batteries to be produced, the supply of raw materials needs to be stronger. Livent’s extended supply deal with Tesla is a step toward that goal. 

Tesla secures extended supply contract with lithium producer Livent
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