Lithium Booms In the Battle for Electric-Vehicle Batteries

Lithium has a better claim than most commodities to be the “new oil.” It even comes with the latest geopolitical baggage.

Prices for the lithium-based chemicals that go into rechargeable batteries have soared this year as electric-vehicle sales have revved up, particularly in China. The average price for lithium carbonate, one of the two key compounds used by battery manufacturers, reached $14,386 a metric ton in August, according to Benchmark Minerals, up from $6,124 in December.

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