Lithium, a key component for the lithium ion batteries used in electric vehicles, has garnered attention from mining companies, investors and the broader public in light of Tesla’s plans to manufacture its own batteries. The average price of lithium jumped 47% in the first quarter of 2016, according to data from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
Currently, lithium is experiencing increasing demand. Lithium batteries are more energy efficient than traditional nickel-metal hydride batteries, so they are extremely important throughout economic sectors such as the automobile and electronics industries. The increasing demand is met by the limited supply, meaning investments in lithium could have a large profit potential. Tesla(TSLA) previously announced 500,000 cars annually by 2020, but in the most recent quarterly earnings call, the automaker revealed that it’s moving its production forecasts two years earlier to 2018.