Chrysler parent Stellantis plans to get a substantial amount of the lithium needed for its electric vehicle batteries from a former tourist mecca in California. The automaker announced a deal Thursday with Controlled Thermal Resources, which has offices in California and Australia, to supply “battery grade lithium hydroxide” for use in EV production in North America.
That means Stellantis, which also controls the Jeep, Ram, Dodge, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands, will join General Motors, which announced a similar agreement last year, in tapping Controlled Thermal’s expected lithium production in the Salton Sea Basin, an area near the U.S. border with Mexico.
The Salton Sea, which was created in 1905 by an accidental outflow from the Colorado River, once attracted large numbers of visitors. Pollution and high levels of salinity, however, eventually helped end its status as a major tourist destination, according to California.com.
More recently, the area has made headlines for its potential to supply significant quantities of lithium, a key material used in EV batteries.