At the end of 2013, analysts and investors weren't holding their breath for big changes in the lithium space — a weak electronics market and lackluster battery demand seemed to point to an unimpressive year ahead for the energy metal. However, as market participants know, it turned out to be quite an exciting year for the lithium space, thanks to Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA). Chris Berry, president of House Mountain Partners and co-editor of the Disruptive Discoveries Journal, told Lithium Investing News that the metal was "a pleasant diversion from the general downward trend in metal prices" in 2014 given the resilience of its price. Tesla's gigafactory announcement At the end of 2013, Daniela Desormeaux, economist and general manager at signumBOX, saw lithium demand rising on the back of an increased need for batteries — but not in 2014. She also said that although additional demand from the electrical vehicle space might spur things along, other battery markets were bigger. However, that was before Tesla Motors' plans for a lithium-ion battery gigafactory started gaining traction. The lithium market — along with the graphite and cobalt markets — was all abuzz as analysts and market watchers initially suggested that the factory could eat up as much as 15,000 to 25,000 tons of lithium carbonate per year once at full capacity, putting a dent in a forecast oversupply. More recently, analyst Simon Moores has suggested that demand from the factory could go beyond eating into a surplus and could actually cause a shortage. With construction at the factory a year ahead of schedule, lithium companies are watching developments at Tesla now more than ever. Jumping juniors Berry stated that while 2014 was "business as usual" for producers such as Rockwood Holdings (NYSE:ROC) and SQM (NYSE:SQM), junior lithium companies were "given a new lease on life" thanks to the buzz surrounding Tesla.