Stellantis made a €50 million (about $52 million) equity investment in Vulcan recently to increase lithium production for EV manufacturing.
Vulcan plans to use the investment for expansion drilling in its Upper Rhine Valley Brine Field (URVBF), where it aims to produce lithium hydroxide. Vulcan’s URVBF already produces geothermal energy. It plans to expand to lithium hydroxide using zero fossil fuels through the Zero Carbon Lithium Project.
Vulcan’s lithium project is located in Upper Rhine Valley, Germany. According to the company, the Zero Carbon Lithium Project does not require large open pits for hard-rock mining. It won’t require large quantities of water either. Vulcan estimates it could produce one tonne of lithium hydroxide using very little water and occupying a relatively smaller amount of land compared to other processes.
Stellantis, Volkswagen, and Tesla’s long-time battery supplier LG Energy Solution have already signed contracts to receive Vulcan’s first battery-quality lithium hydroxide products for EVs. In addition to its recent investment, Stellantis extended its initial binding offtake agreement with Vulcan to 10 years.
“Making this highly strategic investment in a leading lithium company will help us create a resilient and sustainable value chain for our European electric vehicle battery production,” said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO. “We continue our quest of forming strong relationships with partners who share our values as we collectively fight against global warming and provide clean, safe, and affordable mobility to our customers.”
Top EV manufacturer Tesla has identified lithium as a potential limiting factor to future EV production and the company’s personal goal. Tesla has signed supply deal agreements with a few companies, including Core Lithium and Lionwtown Resources in Australia, to secure Li supplies.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk encouraged young entrepreneurs to invest in the lithium industry during the last earnings call.
“So, we think we’re going to need to help the industry on this front, but I mean, the industry is very fast. And I certainly encourage entrepreneurs out there who are looking for opportunities to get into the lithium business. The lithium margins right now are practically software margins,” he said.