Lithium carbonate has gone from costing US$6,000 per metric tonne to US$14,000 in the last six months. These revelations from Breitbart News, who have investigated lithium prices since Tesla erected a US$5 billion factory in the Nevada desert causing markets to speculate on shares. The recent announcement of the Tesla model 3 also alerted the market that lithium is becoming important to consumers due to the 300,000 orders Tesla received on the back of the announcement.
Goldman Sachs has investigated lithium prices as well in their Emerging Market Radar report that makes the bold statement that: Lithium is the new Gasoline. The report states: “These unique properties [lithium as the lightest solid element on earth] ideally position it for portable energy storage applications that will be a key enabler of the electric car revolution and replace gasoline as the primary source of transportation fuel.”
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, says the demand jump for the Tesla vehicles is staggering due to the spike in orders. Tesla only produced 50,000 cars last year, and now 300,00 orders for the Model 3 is piquing the interest of engineers everywhere. Musk says, “In order to produce a half million cars per year…we would basically need to absorb the entire world’s lithium-ion production.
The Economist wrote about the “global scramble” that is hiking up the cost of lithium, proving that much like finding gold, lithium is on the top of industrial producers’ lists of things to obtain.