- Battery startup Statevolt has purchased a 135-acre site in Imperial Valley, California, to house its first U.S. gigafactory, the company said in a LinkedIn post on Jan. 25.
- The site was chosen for its proximity to the Salton Sea, which contains one of the largest lithium reserves, as the company pursues a ‘hyper-local’ supply chain for its lithium ion batteries in the U.S, according to the post.
- Once fully operational, Statevolt said the facility will be one of the largest in North America, able to supply batteries for 650,000 EVs per year.
Statevolt has been scouting gigafactory locations in southern California’s Imperial Valley since April, when founder and CEO Lars Carlstrom, who also created Italy-based battery startup Itavolt, announced its launch.
Factoring into Statevolt’s choice in location is its supplier agreement with Controlled Thermal Resources. The battery maker signed a Letter of Intent for locally produced lithium and geothermal power from CTR’s planned facility in the Salton Sea, which the gigafactory will now neighbor.
The Salton Sea contains brine that is estimated to hold between 1 and 6 million metric tons of lithium, University of California Riverside geochemist Michael McKibben told Berkeley Lab, and is a key material for producing lithium ion batteries.
“Today, we face a significant shortage in the amount of lithium that is required to meet the demand for electric vehicles,” Carlstrom said in a statement last year. “We are pioneering a new, hyper-local business model, which prioritizes sustainability and resilience in the supply chain to solve this issue.”
Other battery makers with U.S. operations are also striking supply deals in North America or with free trade partners. The aim is to create a more sustainable supply chain as EV demand skyrockets and battery sourcing provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act take effect.
Just this month, SK On signed an agreement with a U.S. graphite processor to develop key battery materials, with the possibility of supplying its battery factories underway with major EV makers. And a few months prior, American Battery Factory partnered with Chicago-based Anovion for synthetic graphite as it prepares to build thirty-six gigafactories over a 3-year period.