Tesla Lithium

Tesla Lithium Construction has Begun, Texas – Style

Tesla Lithium

In the middle of a field just outside of Corpus Christi, along Texas Route 69E in the heart of Nueces County, six flags were flying at half-staff. 

Two American flags, two Texas flags, and 2 Tesla flags. 

Texas has gone through some difficult days.  In the aftermath of a mass shooting in Allen, Texas, and tragic deaths in Brownsville, there is something bright happening to bring hope and prosperity to the state.


Many people made the trip out to the site of Tesla’s new lithium refinery to celebrate in a ground-breaking with Elon Musk, and Tesla employees.  As people sat under the tent, a large and unexpectedly modified version of the Cybertruck slowly drove past all six flags.  The driver, curved around and parked center stage under a beautiful archway, bearing the words “Tesla Lithium.”

That driver was Elon Musk.  There will be lots of pictures of Elon exiting Cybertruck center stage as almost everybody was taking either video or a picture of this special occasion.

Earthmovers in the background, preparing the land for the new factory kept working the entire time as Elon, wearing a Don’t Mess with Tesla belt buckle, handsome suit, and black cowboy boots, took the microphone and explained that this will be one of the largest lithium refining factories in the world, producing enough lithium for 1 million vehicles.

“It will produce more battery grade lithium than the rest of all the North American lithium refining capacity combined.“

Kathleen Hogan from the US Department of Energy stated that Tesla has, 

“been a leader in the EV space for a long time and now they’re being an amazing leader by building out the clean energy supply chain here in this country, it’s amazing to see the jobs that are going to be here.  We talk in Washington DC about the muscle we need to build out US manufacturing, and where is the muscle? The muscle is in the workforce and that muscle is going to be here, with the young people that will be coming onto the training in Teslas programs.”


I could not take my eyes off the Cybertruck, glistening in the Texas sun and adorned with a waving Texas flag. This massive utility vehicle with custom black racks served as the backdrop when Texas Governor Abbott spoke, 

“We would not be here but for the vision, the hard work, and the commitment of Elon Musk and Tesla.  Elon brought his Gigafactory here and liked it so much that he brought

Tesla here and then the Boring Company here, SpaceX is here, Neuralink is here, in the Lonestar state!”

Abbott presented Elon Musk with a proclamation from the State of Texas in appreciation of him & all Tesla employees and in honor of the new Tesla Lithium refinery.


Some people mistake Elon Musk for a celebrity.  I agree he has that status, and I see him as a technologist or engineer first, before any other role.  

He is the Technoking of Tesla. And what follows is a short TED talk on battery refining. To an attentive audience, Elon explained, 

“We’re aiming to finish construction next year and hopefully reach full production about a year later. This is extremely fast by normal standards, but that’s how we do things.  As I said, the capability we’re aiming for is approximately 1 million vehicles worth of battery-grade lithium and the potential is there to expand beyond that number as needed.

“We intend to continue to use suppliers of lithium, so it’s not that Tesla will do all of it.  

We thought it’s important to address what we think is – as we look ahead a few years – a fundamental chokepoint in the advancement of electric vehicles… the availability of battery-grade lithium.

“Lithium for mining is actually quite common. Lithium is actually a very common element on Earth, it’s actually present, basically in every country. It’s not that there’s a shortage of lithium to mine, but there is a shortage of heavy industry refinement to battery grade.  Lithium actually has to be extremely precise and ultra-pure, because if you have any impurities in the Lithium it causes degradation of the battery

“Purity requirements are extremely high and we got a number of innovations that we think will be quite effective in the refining of Lithium that haven’t been done before.

Tesla SVP Powertrain and Energy Engineering Drew Baglino explained that the talent that is applicable in oil and gas refining is the same type of talent that is applicable in lithium refining. 

This is a reason why this area, South of Corpus Christie, was chosen as the location to build Tesla Lithium.

Another innovation with Tesla lithium is the pure process which does not produce airborne or ground waste which would affect the community in a negative way.

Following a detailed explanation of lithium refining, essentially a short interesting Ted talk which you may watch in full on Tesla’s Twitter Livestream, it was time to break ground.


This groundbreaking was like none I’ve ever seen.  On a large length of ground, eighteen people lined up with silver shovels. Tesla provided shovels for everyone, and it was a happy, celebratory event full of hope for the future.  

This is a wonderful moment that is much needed in Texas.  As families heal from the recent tragedies, life goes on, people grow older, get married, have babies, and work to provide for their loved ones.  Tesla is becoming a part of modern Texas culture.  Governor Abbot said it well,   

“There is no greater entrepreneur in the entire world than Elon Musk.  We are so proud he calls Texas home.  Elon Musk and Tesla are part of the Texas economic juggernaut.”


Article by Gail Alfar, all rights reserved. All photos Courtesy Tesla, Inc. Gratitude to Drew Baglino, Elon Musk and Ellie in Space for being present at the event. Tesla team including Rohan Patel and Kathleen Hogan.