The winners and losers in the rechargeable lithium ion batteries market for electric vehicles

Growing consumer demand for economically and environmentally friendly energy storage devices, particularly for the new generation of electric cars, is advancing the technology for rechargeable batteries, according to technology intelligence provider GBI Research.

Decreasing oil and gas reserves across the globe are driving up fossil fuel prices and encouraging customers to shift towards sustainable energy sources. One of the most significant changes within this is the potential switch from petroleum-based vehicles to electric alternatives. Electric vehicles require different energy storage devices to run, and this will fuel the demand for advanced batteries in the future. The current electric vehicles market mainly consists of hybrid electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Rechargeable batteries held a share of about 76% of the total batteries market in 2011, and primarily included include lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, and nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries. Li-ion batteries currently dominate the energy storage market compared to the other two nickel-based batteries, as they offer higher energy density and better performance than other battery types. NiCd batteries are swiftly being phased out completely, as they offer only half the capacity of NiMH batteries for the same weight or volume, and only one-fourth that of Li-ion batteries, giving the NiCd battery a poor price-performance ratio.

The Asia-Pacific region has historically been the market leader in the Li-ion batteries market, with China, Korea and Japan being the major producers. Asia-Pacific is expected to remain the market leader with a share of 53% in 2020, due to the growing consumption pattern for batteries. However, North America’s batteries market is expected to grow at a higher rate compared to Asia-Pacific over the forecast period, from a 9% share of the global Li-ion batteries market in 2011 to a 29% share by 2020.

As a result of these factors, GBI Research expects the global advanced batteries market to grow from US$16.7 billion in 2011 to US$56.2 billion in 2020 at a cumulative annual growth rate of 14.4%.