Eager to secure all the lithium it needs to power a growing number of electric vehicles, General Motors said Tuesday it will lead a $50 million investment in lithium mining and refining startups EnergyX.
With the deal, the longtime automaker says it will help EnergyX scale up its lithium extraction technology. In return, GM gets exclusive access to some of the lithium that EnergyX sources from mining companies in the Americas.
The companies declined to disclose the scope of this exclusivity deal, but in an email to businessupdates.org, GM spokesman David Caldwell said it is “capped at certain points, not unlimited.” The companies also did not name the other investors involved in the $50 million funding round.
The demand for lithium has skyrocketed in recent years, thank you not in the last place to the rise of electric vehicles and renewable energy sources. The push for more and more lithium is driving companies like EnergyX to search more efficiently – and less ecologically destructive — extraction methods. Earlier this year, EnergyX launched said that his technology “can extract lithium from brine wells with little to no water, and requires no heavy metals or chemical additives.”
The Austin, Texas and San Juan, Puerto Rico-based startup has no affiliation with a similarly named Seoul-based company called Energy X, which focuses on decarbonising buildings.
Like other automakers, this is not GM’s first investment in a lithium mining company. In January, the automaker said it would pump a whopping $650 million into Lithium Americas to help fund a mine in Nevada.