Is there Greek nickel under Elon Musk's hood?

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

Media darling and certified annoyance eyes world's nickel mines and geology may put Greece in his sights

Serial entrepreneur and certified Silicon Valley annoyance Elon Musk, the P.T. Barnum of Shiny Metal Objects You Didn't Ask For and Probably Don't Need Either, may be looking to Greece to rev up those Tesla engines of his in the future.

Seems that recently Musk said to some investors, "Any mining companies out there, please mine more nickel. OK. Wherever you are in the world, please mine more nickel and don't wait for nickel to go back to some... high point that you experienced some five years ago... Go for efficiency, obviously environmentally friendly nickel mining at high volume. Tesla will give you a giant contract for a long period of time..." Yes, this was actually said by Musk, with characteristic bombast, another looming conquest, cheered on by the media and flimsily disguised as an earnest plea.

But better him than the Chinese: after all, as U.S. Secretary of Commerce said in New York last year with reference to Greece’s economic cooperation with China “geopolitically motivated cash can it be just as dangerous as a Trojan horse."

Troys will be Troys, but as fate would have it, the only producer of nickel in the E.U., and home to one of the five largest mines of the stuff in the world, happens to be in Greece.

Which in itself should come as no surprise. What the thin-soiled terrain of Attica and neighboring Greek regions lack in agricultural riches they have made up for in other forms of wealth, including that of the metallic kind. It was the silver mines of Lavrio after all that supplied ancient Athens with its famous tetradrachma coins, Athena on one side and an owl on the other; such silver paid for the ships of the Athenian fleet that smashed the Persian navy to bits at the Battle of Salamis.

So there's no doubt that Greek nickel is some of the best there is and as it happens, a tender was just issued for the sale of some of the key mines, not too far from Athens.

We take a dim view on Teslas, having pottered about in couple of 'em. They are unexceptional to look at, like some '70 Matchbox cars on a slightly larger scale or DeLorean wannabes; they come in uninteresting colors and frankly, if you have to stop your car and wait for it to recharge its battery or whatever Musk calls those contraptions under their hoods, then your car isn't highway-ready and is probably also a safety hazard that has somehow eluded (hello, lobbyists!) the appropriate federal scrutiny.

In the meantime, each battery in a Tesla 3 contains more than 60 pounds of nickel.

Maybe if Musk can take some time off from flinging his space junk up toward Mars (the man must be truly bored) or listening to the synth-washed squeaking that passes for his she-pal Grimes's singing, he might actually give the Greek mining sector a boost. So we'll get behind that.

But please Elon, reduce those charge times and come up with a design worthy more of RISD, not some Big Lots-bargain basement kindergarten-caliber sci-fi coloring book. And if you think that's snarky, well, next to his "engineering" prowess that's Musk's most endearing quality. Or maybe Grimes knows otherwise?

Do you want to know more about nickel? We didn't think so! So how about some olive oil?

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