Tesla looks to be building a lithium research and development lab in Sparks, Nevada

FILE PHOTO: Braulio Lopez of Galaxy Resources lithium mining division carts halite concentrate at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian/File Photo/File Photo

Tesla appears to be building an unannounced lithium research and development facility in Sparks, Nevada, according to a set of building permits recently filed with the city.

According to a report from Electrek, Tesla filed a building permit with the city of Sparks to build a “lithium lab”. The permit description noted the work was going to include:

Tenant improvement projects for the purpose of a Manufacturing R&D (Lithium Lab) facility. The scope of work includes mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and minor architectural upgrades to support tool installation and process optimizations.

Per Electrek, the location is near the city core, unlike Giga Nevada, which is some 36km (24 miles) outside the city.


Tesla has not announced what the building will be used for, nor have they touched on any lithium development processes they are doing in-house. A few rumours are circulating about what this building could be for. These include:

  • Development of refining technologies for its Texas-based refinery currently under construction,
  • Development of a new lithium extraction method or lithium processing systems for North America or:
  • Lithium battery development to improve energy density.

Although we are not clear exactly what the plan is, given its proximity, we can assume the research and development work undertaken at the new facility would be associated with the large lithium deposits in the state. However, with Giga Nevada so close, it could also be associated with battery research and development. Either way, we will wait for confirmation or additional details in the public record over the coming months.

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About Scott Nordlund 1619 Articles
Originally from the West Coast, Scott is an avid writer & EV enthusiast now living in Ottawa. He holds a MA in Political Science and once played professional football in the German Football League. Email scott@driveteslacanada.ca