Snow Lake Lithium Part 2: “Lithium, Lithium, Lithium” On CleanTech Talk

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

In part 2 of our extended talk with Snow Lake Lithium CEO Philip Gross, we talk about the different ways the push for more electric cars in China means that North American automakers won’t be able to get their hands on enough lithium to keep building cars at the pace they’ve become accustomed to— at any price. Unless Ford, GM, and Chrysler Stellantis can figure out a way to secure their own supply soon, they could be facing a very real existential threat. So, if you’re ready to stare down that future, it’s time settle in for part 2, “Lithium, Lithium, Lithium.”

CleanTech Talk | EVs in China

The Shanghai Auto Show is bigger than you can imagine (press photo).

At the crux of the dilemma faced by a number of legacy brands is the Chinese car market— which is booming. Like everywhere else, demand for EVs, in particular, is growing rapidly, so their push to keep their lithium supply local isn’t driven by politics or international intrigue. They’re literally just trying to keep up with their own domestic demand!

Enough with the show spoilers, though. Here’s the full episode, below, along with the related show notes. Take a listen, follow the links, and let us know what you think off all this lithium craziness in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Snow Lake Lithium, Part 2: “Lithium, Lithium, Lithium”


We talk about the infrastructure that China has already built out, from highly effective battery-swap stations to battery recycling center. You can get a small taste of that here, with just one manufacturer who has millions of swaps under their belt already.

Phil talks about the regulations that pushed China out of an air pollution crisis made famous by LED billboards that would mimic a sunrise on days when the smog was so thick, you literally couldn’t see the sun.

Chinese air pollution in 2014; via Daily Mail.

I posit that the limited supply of lithium would push brands upmarket, since GM would be mad to use its lithium supply on a $30,000 Equinox instead of a $100,000, 9,000 lb. GMC Hummer pickup truck. I wrote about it on The Truth About Cars, and you can read that take here.

Phil mentions that EV demand is so strong, currently, that people are on years-long waiting lists for vehicles like hot-selling Ford F-150 Lightning or Chevy Silverado EV. He doesn’t mention that dealers are playing with those customers at the point of transaction, too, however— and it’s worth mentioning.

Mexico is nationalizing its lithium mining operations? Nope— it’s already happened. American automakers may not be able to convince Mexico to export its lithium to the US, either, as the language it’s written in seems to violate the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Jo mentions that humans have been mining for thousands of years, and Phil posits that urban mining, too, could eliminate hard rock mining in the future. You can check out both claims in the source links.

Original content from CleanTechnica.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Latest CleanTechnica.TV Videos

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.