However irrespective of the Tesla effect on lithium demand the energy metal was already moving higher in price as a result in the growth of lithium ion batteries for a whole host of applications. They are not only found in phones and computers but power tools and even lawn and garden equipment.
There is a definite transition of more and more products to battery power. This requires more lithium as most of these products use this metal in their batteries. There is a certain amount of hype involved but there is also definite demand with emerging supply constraints.
As can be seen from the chart the demand for lithium is forecast to go almost vertical. This increase in demand would seem to be contingent on more demand for electric cars and the emergence of more power storage devices. One of the largest producers of lithium, FMC, recently pushed through 15% price increases on all of their lithium products. Their press release said the following:
I am watching Tesla with a cautious bent. They are selling nearly 50,000 cars per year and the initial reports on demand for the Powerwall product in Australia are being characterized as "strong".