Electric vehicles (EVs) have a few things in common — they all need a lot of the same parts and components in their vehicles, asserts Ian Wyatt, growth stock specialist and editor of Million Dollar Portfolio.
None is more important than the element lithium, which is a key component for the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power the EV. That’s where I see a big opportunity today. That’s because 10 years ago, in 2011, only 27% of lithium production went to lithium batteries. By 2019, that had risen to nearly 70% of the market.
It’s very likely that current lithium production is insufficient to hit all the growth estimates of the auto industry alone—to say nothing of the lithium batteries needed for computers, cell phones, and other pieces of tech!
That’s why this metal looks attractive here. Prices are rising, but the industry is still fragmented. Outright shortages are expected by 2025. That’s even as lithium production jumped 128% between 2015 and 2020.
That’s why it’s time to buy into one of the top players in the space. They inked a deal with Tesla Motors (TSLA) last year to be one of their top suppliers. Since Tesla is still likely to dominate for the next few years while competition ramps up, this looks like the most attractive play here.
Best of all, while Tesla is hitting new all-time highs on increased production, we can buy this top lithium stock at more than a 25% discount to its recent peak right now. The company is called Piedmont Lithium (PLL). The Australian-based company owns over 2,126 acres in North Carolina. That’s an area with rock formations that have been historically rich in lithium.
Extracting lithium from rock is also considered more environmentally friendly than extracting the metal from brine, given the amounts of water needed. Piedmont expects to be one of the lowest-cost mining operations for lithium as a result. And by providing lithium domestically for assembly into batteries for Tesla, it can cut down on transportation costs.
Most lithium is currently supplied from China, with Australia and South America as the next largest producers. From its location in North Carolina, Piedmont can mine lithium within 1,000 miles of where most U.S. automakers assemble their vehicles, from Alabama to Tennessee to Detroit.
Besides mining the lithium, Piedmont is positioning itself to become the key supplier in the U.S. for lithium hydroxide. The company is also on track to be the first producer of spodumene concentrate (an ore rich in lithium) in the U.S. Currently, 83% of global spodumene production comes from China.
In short, we have a great company tied to a strong, long-term economic trend. It also plays to the shorter-term issue of bringing supply chains back home, rather than rely on potentially unreliable overseas sources (to say nothing of international shipping right now).
With Piedmont shares valued at under $900 million right now, shares look like buying Tesla back in 2015. The total potential market cap of the company can likely move to a few billion in a few years, making for a triple-digit winner for us as the EV trends under way play out.