INN caught up with Simon Moores of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence to talk all things battery metals after Tesla’s Battery Day.
Discussions around improvements, production and the importance of lithium-ion batteries in the electric vehicle maker’s cars were for the first time brought to the attention of thousands of market watchers.
For expert Simon Moores, managing director at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, the main takeaway from the event was that Tesla is officially upstream.
“It’s the first time an automaker, an electric vehicle maker, but an automotive maker, period, has moved into the upstream of the lithium-ion battery supply chain,” he said. “And a really important part of that is Tesla now is looking to build chemical plants; a cathode plant first, so the step before the lithium-ion battery, and then of course a lithium hydroxide chemical plant.”
Moores also shared his insight on what the California-based company could realistically achieve in terms of cathode improvements to its lithium-ion battery.
“It was clear, they want to reduce costs, (and they’ve) clearly identified cathode manufacturing and the inputs, especially on the nickel side, as areas they can cut costs and cut steps,” he said. “I do think that it makes complete sense to build a cathode plant in Texas next to the Terafactory.”
Tesla also made announcements on what it is working on for the anode side of the battery, with many wondering if this could have an impact on graphite.
“Goodbye to graphite? Absolutely not. No, that’s not the case at all,” Moores explained. “Pure silicon anodes are as difficult as solid-state batteries … I would say watch out for 10 percent plus silicon.”
Moores also shared his thoughts on lithium clay operations and whether Tesla will eventually become a lithium miner or not.
“I don’t think Tesla will ever become a lithium miner, I think they will sensibly understand that mining is a completely different skill set,” he said. “In fact, chemical production is still a completely different skill set to what they’re doing, but they’re putting effort into that area. So that’s really interesting to watch.”
For more from Moores on electric vehicle raw materials, supply chains and what’s next, watch the interview above.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.