July 2 (UPI) -- General Motors announced Friday that it's made a "strategic investment" into a California lithium miner in its effort to produce more batteries for electric vehicles.
The vast majority of lithium is produced outside of the United States, putting most American automakers at a disadvantage in growing electric vehicle market. Lithium is key to making the batteries that power EVs.
California-based Controlled Thermal Resources said it hopes to start yielding lithium from its Hell's Kitchen Lithium and Power development in Imperial, Calif., by 2024.
GM's investment will go to speeding the company's lithium extraction methods to cause less environmental impact.
GM said the deal is part of $35 billion it's spending globally in the EV market and gives the automaker first rights to the company's lithium.
"Lithium is critical to battery production today and will only become more important as consumer adoption of EVs increases, and we accelerate towards our all-electric future," Doug Parks, GM executive vice president for global product development, purchasing and supply chain, said in a statement.
"By securing and localizing the lithium supply chain in the United States, we're helping ensure our ability to make powerful, affordable, high mileage EVs while also helping to mitigate environmental impact and bring more low-cost lithium to the market as a whole."
Australia, Chile and China are some of the top lithium-producing countries in the world.
GM said EVs are key in meeting its goal to eliminate carbon emissions from light-duty vehicles by 2035.