Lithium-ion battery maker Boston-Power has signed a multi-year agreement to provide battery systems to Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., the EV delivery arm of Beijing Automotive Industry Co., for electric cars that will be available in China this year.
Boston-Power says its battery systems will be used in “hundreds” of EVs in 2014 and “thousands” by 2014. This is the battery maker’s first deal with a Chinese carmaker.
The state-run automaker is China’s fifth largest, and it manufactures Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai vehicles for sale in China.
Under the terms of the agreement, Boston-Power’s battery systems will support multiple Beijing Electric Vehicle models and brands. Availability of pre-ordered vehicles begins in fourth quarter 2012 with the C70 sedan (pictured), which is based on the 9-5 SAAB chassis that the company acquired in 2009.
Additionally Boston-Power is building an R&D and EV battery engineering facility in China that the company says will expand upon its current generation lithium-ion battery technology to develop new energy storage products.
The company is also constructing a manufacturing facility in China that will be able to produce 400 MWh of lithium-ion battery cells annually by the end of 2012.
Pike Research forecasts the market for lithium-ion batteries for transportation will grow from $2 billion annually in 2011 to more than $14.6 billion by 2017.
Analysts say gas prices, increased oil dependence and a growing desire for zero-emission vehicles are driving consumer change and buying behaviors. The research firm points to China and the US as the two markets best positioned to enjoy the strongest growth rates for EV adoption, with China leading the way in instituting government policies and incentives to encourage consumer adoption of EVs.
In late June, BMW announced it was expanding its partnership with Toyota for collaborative research on lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, along with hybrid powertrains and lightweight design.