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Electric vehicles, storage units drive prices up

This Tesla car uses Panasonic's lithium-ion battery.

SYDNEY -- Two big trends in energy technology -- the expanding appeal of electric vehicles and the growing demand for at-home battery storage systems -- are driving changes across the complex global supply chain for the soft light metal known as lithium.

     The changes affect lithium producers in South America, Australia and China, processors in North Asia, North America and Europe, and big end users such as battery makers Panasonic of Japan, LG Chem and Samsung SDI of South Korea, and high-profile U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla.

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