"If all goes to plan, General Motors Co.'s future electric cars will rely on batteries made from a broiling-hot, brownish fluid that gushes from the California desert.
The contours of that future emerged on Friday, when GM struck a deal with a little-known company called Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) to supply the country's largest domestic automaker with tons of lithium from a desolate area called the Salton Sea.
The arrangement is the first concrete sign that 'Lithium Valley,' as its boosters call it — a green industrial ecosystem that produces zero-carbon electricity, battery-grade lithium and lots of jobs — could actually become a thing.
The contract 'is the first of its kind by a major automaker and positive proof of how important this region is to the future of electrifying transportation in the most environmentally responsible way possible,' said Karen Douglas, a member of the California Energy Commission. 'The deal is a significant, encouraging milestone toward realizing the state's lithium valley vision.'"