Italian EV Battery Maker’s CEO Plans Major Gigafactory in Imperial Valley
Kevin Dooley | Flickr

Italian EV Battery Maker’s CEO Plans Major Gigafactory in Imperial Valley

The founder and CEO of Italian battery manufacturer Italvolt announced plans today for a new $4 billion gigafactory in Southern California’s Imperial Valley that should produce enough batteries to supply 650,000 electric vehicles annually.


Italvolt CEO Lars Carlstrom said he’s formed a new company, Statevolt, that will build the 54-gigawatt-hours (GWh) facility with the help of Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR), a California-based lithium extraction company that will supply the factory’s lithium and geothermal power. Statevolt is still “undertaking due diligence” on the exact location of the facility, which should be “one of the largest” battery factories in North America upon completion, it said.

“The development of lithium-ion batteries is crucial for the U.S. to meet its goals to transition to net zero [carbon emissions],” Carlstrom said in a statement. “Today, we face a significant shortage in the amount of lithium that is required to meet the demand for electric vehicles.”

Carlstrom added that Statevolt’s partnership with CTR is “pioneering a new, hyper-local business model,” which said “will offer Statevolt a significant advantage in producing lithium-ion batteries at scale.” CTR will supply the gigafactory’s lithium from its nearby Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power development, which is slated for completion in 2023.

That would give the battery maker an advantage at a time when lithium prices have climbed due to a global supply chain squeeze exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as growing demand for electric vehicles—and, in turn, lithium-ion batteries to power EVs.

Instead of traditional open-pit mining or evaporation ponds, CTR extracts lithium from geothermal brine—extremely hot, salty water located in abundance underneath the Imperial Valley’s Salton Sea. The brine is pumped to the surface and then purified to extract lithium-containing salts. CTR says the process, when done correctly, could have “near-zero” carbon emissions.

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