Electric cars have been stirring up a storm for lithium. Prices of the mineral, which is an essential component of the lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars like Teslas, have been rising to stratopheric heights since October 2015 amid the prospect of widespread mass production of fully electric cars, each requiring some 21.4 kg (47 lb) of lithium carbonate equivalent in their batteries. Is the price boom sustainable, or is it a bubble? The answer may be a bit of both.
“Lithium is not rare — it is abundant, it’s out there,” said Pablo Cortegoso, consultant for lithium projects development at SRK Consulting. “There is a pricing bubble — hang tight. Oversupply may happen in the short term, but future demand will balance the lithium market. It will even out, just be patient.”