Tesla might get into the business of mining minerals used in electric vehicle batteries if it wants to expand its product lineup and scale production, CEO Elon Musk said during the company’s annual shareholder meeting.
The comments came after Musk talked about plans for an electric pickup truck and an aim to begin production of its all-electric Class 8 semi truck by the end of 2020. He said those plans were dependent on Tesla’s ability to manufacture a lot of lithium-ion battery cells.
“There’s not much point in adding product complexity if we don’t have enough batteries,” he said. “That is complexity, but without gain.”
Tesla’s massive factory in Sparks, Nevada was built to expand global battery capacity, and in turn reduce the cost of electric vehicles. The plant, called Gigafactory 1, produces Model 3 electric motors and battery packs, in addition to Tesla’s energy storage products, Powerwall and Powerpack.
Panasonic, its most important partner as a supplier and partner in that project makes the cells. Tesla then uses the cells to make battery packs for its electric vehicles.
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