It'll need them. Tesla's battery design requires thousands of lithium-ion cells. CEO Elon Musk's ambition is to be building 500,000 vehicles by 2020, so that means Tesla is going to need literally tons of lithium.
To secure this essential commodity, it made a deal this week with Vancouver-based Pure Energy Minerals to obtain lithium from a project in Nevada.
The agreement between Tesla and Pure Energy is contingent upon several studies to determine if the Nevada project will meet Tesla's needs.
Tesla is also planning to obtain lithium from New Mexico, but, as Ars Technica reported, the Nevada project, called the "Nevada Lithium Brine Project," is just three hours from the Gigafactory location near Reno.