It is helpful sometimes to do a little math to understand the scale of what’s required to sustain car culture.

A Tesla 70kWh car battery requires about 63kg / 138 pounds of lithium carbonate (Li2CO3).

Tesla would like to produce 20 million cars per year by 2030.

20 million * 138 pounds = 2,760,000,000 (2.7 billion pounds) = 1,380,000 tons of lithium carbonate per year to produce 20 million cars a year.

The Thacker Pass mine will produce 60,000 tons per year of battery-grade lithium carbonate over the life of the mine.

That means 23 Thacker Pass mines would be needed to produce enough lithium carbonate for 20 million Teslas per year.

Of course that doesn’t include the mines needed for the other materials in a battery, including cobalt and nickel.

Image: Double Amplify, by Jean Arnold, from her collection “Extraction” (with permission)