Teslas lithiumion plant a paradigm shift for graphite demand

first_imgwww.techventurenews.com reports the recent announcement from  electric car maker Tesla Motors to construct the biggest lithium-ion battery factory in the world – likely in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico or Texas. Tesla stated: “As we at Tesla reach for our goal of producing a mass market electric car in approximately three years, we have an opportunity to leverage our projected demand for lithium ion batteries to reduce their cost faster than previously thought possible. The Gigafactory is designed to reduce cell costs much faster than the status quo and, by 2020, produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013.“By the end of the first year of volume production of our mass market vehicle, we expect the Gigafactory will have driven down the per kWh cost of our battery pack by more than 30%.”This factory will disrupt the car and the battery industry for the foreseeable future.  By 2020 it will produce enough lithium-ion batteries to service 500,000 electric cars. Tesla – with a market cap of $31 billion – is already using half of all the batteries made for electric cars for its Model S car.Tesla’s “giga-factory” would more than double the current global lithium ion battery production. There is 10 to 30 times more graphite in a lithium-ion battery than lithium.  Therefore, the demand for graphite is going to grow substantially. In 2013 China produced 70% of the world’s graphite but it has recently restricted exports by instituting an export tax. China’s graphite grades and quality of its production are also decreasing. The world’s demand for large flake, high purity graphite is increasing exponentially.US technology driven companies (ones that use lithium Ion batteries) like Tesla will demand a stable domestic graphite supply to guarantee their needs for future production. Of the many companies aiming to supply the demand, USA’s Graphite One appears to be well positioned. The US currently imports 100% of its graphite. The company is developing the largest, high-grade, large flake graphite deposit in the USA and North America for that matter – the only one of its kind.The project has over $4 billion worth of graphite in the ground according to the last resource estimate the company made public. To put that in perspective, that’s enough graphite to supply the needs of growing US demand for the next generation.“It is exciting seeing one of the most significant, coarse flake graphite resources in the world grow with every drill hole,” stated Anthony Huston, GPH President and CEO for Graphite One in an interview with Financial Press, “an advanced stage graphite deposit in the US is a significant advantage, for both permitting, funding and off take strategies in the near future.”The Graphite One deposit is scalable and could exceed 1,000 Mt. The ease of extraction is a competitive advantage. Since the deposit is exposed at surface with no overburden along the face of the mountain, the cost of extraction will be low, offering a strong competitive edge.  Graphite One could be a low cost producer to buyers of technology-driven graphite products.Last week’s announcement by Tesla was not only a game changer for the auto industry.  It will be a paradigm shift in the technology arena for large flake graphite end users.last_img

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