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Cobalt and more: the truth about Elon Musk’s Tesla plans



Cobalt and more: the truth about Elon Musk’s Tesla plans


From space to cobalt mines in Congo. For Tesla founder Elon Musk, there seem to be no borders. Thanks to the agreement with Glencore, world leader in the extraction of cobalt, the entrepreneur will have 6 thousand tons available per year of the precious mineral used to make the lithium-ion battery cells of electric cars.

Elon Musk, in fact, is developing a very complex strategy just about the production e supplying the batteries for their own cars. The goal is clear: not to be caught unprepared for the challenges that will arise in the future. And maybe take competitors off guard.

Tesla, the agreement with Glencore

On the one hand, in fact, Tesla is destined to expand range and volumeswith the Model Y on the launch pad to immediately become a best seller e the new Roadster which will make its debut in 2022. the Cybertruck on the home straight and the renewed thrust on the Semi truck. And then there is all the theme of the compact “for all” Made in Chinawhich from 2025 could represent a resounding sales boom.

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On the other hand, instead, with the spread of electric mobility and the arrival of an increasing number of competitors, you can’t help but anticipate to avoid running out of supplies of raw materials and essential components. Tesla, in summary, is looking for different answers to different questions.

It seems strange, but at a time when cobalt-free lithium-ion batteries are everyone’s goaland they are landing on the Chinese Model 3, Tesla has signed an agreement to supply the precious metal with Glencorethe leading manufacturer in the world.

This is because if a different chemical composition is preferred for certain types of batteries, for others cobalt will still be key. Thanks to the agreement, Elon Musk has secured the 25% of cobalt production of the super mine located in the Katanga region, where i two thirds of the world’s cobalt reserves.

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The amount Musk will purchase is equal to 4% of the entire global production; 6,000 tons of the precious blue metal per year, four times what Tesla bought in 2019. With that much available, Elon Musk can sleep peacefullyeven more than much more noble car manufacturers that have yet to secure an equally structured supply for the future.

Peace rediscovered with Panasonic and new collaborations

The news of the partnership with Glencore comes within hours of the one with which Tesla announced that he has renewed the agreement with Panasonic for the supply of lithium-ion batteries, in Nevada.

The collaboration with Panasonic was thus prolonged for three years after major friction had arisen between the Californian house and the Japanese company. Panasonicfrom exclusive battery supplier to Tesla, he risked cutting all bridgesonly to retrace their steps, but under different conditions.

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Among the battery manufacturers who started working with Tesla there are the Korean LG Chem and the Chinese giant CATL. Both will work primarily for the Shanghai Gigafactory, with the former focusing on NMC-type lithium-ion batteries, while the second will be responsible for the supply of LFP type batteries.

In this whirlwind of agreements and collaborations, Tesla has not forgotten the importance of remain as independent and self-sufficient as possible. So, together with the now famous team of Canadian researchers, he is working on the development of a revolutionary technology that will lead to the production of the super battery from 1 million miles.

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And here we return to the opening sentence of this article. The end of development and the start of production of this battery will be announced during the Battery Day? Will the pandemic be the only reason for the postponements? We may never know, so we just have to trust the official statements. Of course, like everything related to Elon Musk, curiosity is great.