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Report: Tesla, Glencore in talks over cobalt supply deal

Tesla Inc. is in talks with Glencore PLC over a long-term contract that would see the Swiss commodities trader supplying cobalt to the electric-car maker's Shanghai factory, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 15, citing people familiar with the matter.

The news outlet said executives from the two companies mapped out the deal before an event to mark Tesla's first sales of its Model 3 sedan from its Shanghai plant.

A spokesman from Glencore declined to comment, while a representative for Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to the news outlet.

Bloomberg said a deal with Glencore would help Tesla avoid a cobalt supply shortage as it boosts its production of electric cars at its factory in Shanghai. In 2018, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said cobalt shortage is "one of the largest potential risks" to electric vehicle sales over the next five to seven years.

On Jan. 7, the Silicon Valley-based company announced plans to manufacture its upcoming Model Y sports utility vehicle in Shanghai after making the first public delivery of a China-made Model 3 sedan.

Tesla has already received regulatory approval for the mass production of its cars in Shanghai. It also secured a 10 billion Chinese yuan loan for a five-year term to help support the operations of the Shanghai facility.

As of Jan. 15, US$1 was equivalent to 6.89 Chinese yuan.