New move for Tesla and Elon Musk

On the annual shareholder meeting Tuesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk remarked that mining may be in the company’s future.

Musk has made the comments in the context of the company’s goals to scale up production including its electric pickup truck and its all-electric Class 8 semi-truck by the end of 2020. Doing so may require Tesla to get into the mining business to keep up with the company’s lithium ion battery needs.

“There’s not much point in adding product complexity if we don’t have enough batteries,” he said. “That is complexity, but without gain,” Musk said.

Tesla’s giant factory Gigafactory 1 manufactures Model 3 electric motors, battery packs, and energy storage products including Powerwall and Powerpack. While the factory was designed to expand global battery capacity, and consequently, reduce the cost of building electric vehicles, it relies on Panasonic to make the cells used in the Tesla battery packs.

In the shareholder meeting, Musk explained that once production was increased to a “very high level,” it may “look further down the supply chain and get into the mining business, I don’t know, maybe a little bit at least,” according to a Techcrunch the story.