Tesla’s ability to expand its product lineup will depend on being able to produce a large number of batteries, which in turn will require the company to source more battery metals such as lithium, cobalt graphite and nickel in the future.
In response, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the company may enter the mining business.
Overheard: Get ready for the California lithium rush, if Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has his way https://t.co/RtpRhiCWnM— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 12, 2019
"There's not much point in adding product complexity if we don't have enough batteries," he said on a conference call Tuesday. "We'll do whatever we have to to ensure that we can scale at the fastest rate possible."
For now, Tesla has plans to match product rollout with scaling of factory production. Once production reaches high levels, Tesla will “look further down the supply chain and get into the mining business,” Musk said. "As we scale battery production to very high levels, we actually have to look further down the supply chain."
An estimated 63 kg of lithium are in a 70 kWh Tesla Model S battery pack, which weighs around 1,000 pounds (~453 kg). Visual Capitalist has published a breakdown of raw materials in popular li-ion batteries in order to help identify possible bottlenecks: