Lithium is a key material in lithium-ion batteries and stands up well to repeated charging.

Lithium is a key material in lithium-ion batteries and stands up well to repeated charging. 

Photo: Erik Mclean

General Motors has announced plans to invest $650 million into Lithium Americas to develop the Thacker Pass mine in Nevada. 

According to GM, this represents the largest-ever investment by an automaker to produce battery raw materials. Lithium Americas estimates the lithium extracted and processed from the project can support production of up to one million EVs per year.

Lithium carbonate from Thacker Pass will be used in GM’s proprietary Ultium battery cells. GM, which is launching a broad portfolio of trucks, SUVs, luxury vehicles, and light commercial vehicles using the Ultium Platform, will split the investment between two tranches.

The funds for the first tranche will be held in escrow until certain conditions are met, including the outcome of the Record of Decision ruling currently pending in U.S. District Court. If those conditions are met, the funds will be released and GM will become a shareholder in Lithium Americas.

The second tranche investment is expected to be made into Lithium Americas’ U.S.-focused lithium business following the separation of its U.S. and Argentina businesses and is contingent on similar conditions, including Lithium Americas securing sufficient capital to fund the development expenditures to support Thacker Pass.

Production at Thacker Pass is projected to begin in the second half of 2026. GM will receive exclusive access to Phase 1 production through a binding supply agreement.

GM has announced four U.S. cell plants with annual capacity of 160 gigawatt hours, including the Ultium Cells joint venture plant with LG Energy Solution in Warren, Ohio, which is in production, and additional JV sites in Spring Hill, Tennessee and Lansing, Michigan. 

GM is currently building EVs in two Michigan plants, one Tennessee plant and one Ontario plant. 

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