Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL) has announced the appointment of a former Tesla director to its ranks, in a bid to advance its Zero Carbon Lithium product globally and enable an environmentally friendly “electric mobility transition” in the wider industry.
Commencing immediately, Jochen Rudat will join Vulcan’s business development team on a consultancy basis, with a view to boost the company’s sales figures by securing valuable offtake agreements in Europe’s car and battery sector.
Mr Rudat has an illustrious background and reputation in the electric vehicle (EV) industry. He was one of Tesla’s first employees in sales and marketing in Europe over a decade ago, where he built a team of 250 employees and was responsible for the launch of Tesla’s S, 3, X and Roadster models in the region.
Tesla is an EV giant based in Palo Alto, California, producing electric cars and battery energy storage equipment. The company this week held an outdoor investor event for its Battery Day at its Fremont manufacturing facility with chief executive officer Elon Musk presenting to socially-distanced guests attending in their cars.
Major announcements from the event included Tesla’s move to eliminate the use of cobalt in its cathodes and revelations of a new cathode plant in North America as part of the company’s plan to shave supply chain costs and streamline battery production.
Tesla said it is also planning to launch a new high-performance Model S sedan, called the Plaid, to be made available in late 2021 – a car with a range of 520 miles (836km), capable of reaching 100km per hour in two seconds with a top speed of 200mph (322km/h).
With electric car sales (and production) ramping up across the world, Vulcan chose to recruit an industry veteran to bolster its commercial operations.
Before Tesla, Mr Rudat worked for several prominent manufacturers such as BMW, Kia and Porsche.
Most recently, he served as chief sales officer at Italian luxury carmaker Automobili Pininfarina to launch its electric hypercar, Battista.
Moreover, Mr Rudat is the founder of Electric Ventures, a consultancy service focused on investments in sustainable transport.
“We’re excited to be joined by such an experienced member of the electric automotive industry,” Vulcan managing director Dr Francis Wedin said.
“Jochen will work alongside and complement our business development team led by Vincent Pedailles, providing his expert industry insight as we explore offtake agreements and strategic partnerships surrounding our world-first Zero Carbon Lithium product, process and project in Europe,” he added.
Vulcan’s zero carbon goals
According to the company, it is striving to become the world’s first producer of lithium with a zero-carbon footprint.
Using its patented zero-carbon lithium process, Vulcan wants to make a battery-quality lithium hydroxide chemical product with net-zero carbon footprint from its combined geothermal and lithium resource – currently Europe’s largest lithium resource located in the Upper Rhine Valley of Germany.
Vulcan has previously said it plans to use its production process to produce both renewable geothermal energy, and lithium hydroxide, from the same location.
“In doing so, it will fix lithium’s current problems for the EU market: a very high carbon and water footprint of production, and total reliance on imports, mostly from China. Vulcan aims to supply the lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle market in Europe, which is the fastest-growing in the world,” the company said.