Electric vehicles are driving an unprecedented lithium boom. Electric vehicles captured less than one percent of the global vehicle market in 2016, yet this one percent was enough to drive a major boom in lithium prices and investment. With automakers introducing a wide variety of new all-electric models and with sales growing at 40% annually, lithium will remain in high demand for decades.
To convert the global vehicle market to battery power, lithium supply would need to expand by more than 50x. Even partial adoption of electric vehicles will require dramatic growth. Grid storage, aerial drones, and tablets are emerging technologies that also have large appetites for lithium.
Lithium is an essential element for the high-energy batteries that power portable electronics and electric vehicles. Lithium has a unique position on the periodic table, offering high voltage and high capacity that cannot be replicated by other metals. A select few battery technologies have shown potential to one day replace today's lithium-ion batteries. These new batteries are based on lithium metal anodes, which can double energy density but also increase lithium usage by 5x per kilowatt-hour. Lithium is here to stay.