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Tesla Produces 5000 Model Y In One Week In Texas & Launches Lithium Refining Site

Tesla is on a roll this week. To keep up with its almost constantly growing sales, Tesla has been ramping up Model Y production at sites around the world. It has also just broken ground on a lithium refinery project. The big news on both fronts this week comes from The Lone Star State. (Unfortunately, there’s bigger news out of Texas this week, but that’s not our topic of focus.)

First of all, Tesla announced a few hours ago that it has reached production of 5,000 Model Y electric SUVs a week at Giga Texas, it’s large and growing factory just outside of Austin, Texas. If you extrapolate for the full year, 5,000 a week means 260,000 Model Y a year — just from Giga Texas. However, presumably, Tesla is continuing to ramp up production there and the number will be higher by the end of the year.

The Model Y is already the best selling electric vehicle in the world, and in 2022 it was the 3rd best selling automobile of any kind (fueled by gas, electricity, or leprechaun charms). Can it rise to #1 in the world in 2023?

Tesla Model Y Leads Global EV Sales Volumes

Lithium Refining by Tesla

Probably the bigger news from Tesla is that it has broken ground on a lithium refinery. The lithium refinery is in Texas, and you can watch the full groundbreaking ceremony below (via Twitter, of course).

Here’s the shorter summary of what this entails, according to Tesla:

“Increasing lithium refining capacity is critical to a sustainable energy economy—today, we’re breaking ground on our in-house lithium refinery outside of Corpus Christi, TX.

“This facility will also prioritize the elimination of a challenging refinery byproduct (sodium sulfate).

“Instead, the byproduct is a mixture of sand & calcium carbonate—a viable additive in the production of construction materials, allowing us to make use of this waste stream.

“In the future, we will also process other intermediate lithium feedstocks, including those from recycled batteries & manufacturing scrap.”

Visualization of future Tesla lithium refinery. Image courtesy of Tesla.

We’ve long known this was coming, and reported on it last year. But the project is indeed now underway, and Tesla is launching into the mineral refining business. It shouldn’t be too long before we get news of Tesla breaking ground on a lithium mining site, right?

Also, we have to wonder, where will Tesla build a lithium refinery next? Or is this a one-off that Tesla was inspired to construct and operate due to the incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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