The free report, Electric Vehicle Batteries, says the Asia Pacific region will continue to lead the global Li-ion battery market with China replacing Japan as the leader in automotive Li-ion battery production by 2015.
China’s competitive advantage — fueled by heavy government support — has attracted automakers in the US, Europe and Japan, which continue to partner with Chinese manufacturers, Pike Research says.
Li-ion batteries will surpass nickel-metal hydride as the preferred hybrid battery, senior research analyst David Alexander says, adding that many manufactures launched new battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2012. All featured Li-on batteries.
The pressure to reduce the cost of electric vehicles is high, and the cost of the battery pack is the most important factor in determining the premium cost of EVs. Large research and development funds have been invested, but only small incremental improvements have been achieved so far.
One challenge is that volumes remain small in automotive terms. The cost of the battery pack will come down to about $447 per kilowatt-hour by the year 2020 at scaled production, according to the report. Other challenges for Li-ion battery manufacturers include improving energy densities, reducing charging times and increasing cycle life.
Pike Research forecasts that as the market develops, Li-ion battery manufacturers will be forced to consolidate. This has already begun with several manufacturers filing for bankruptcy protection, the report says.
Electric vehicle manufacturers need to focus on strategies other than scaling up production if they are to lower Li-ion battery costs and boost flagging EV sales, according to a March report by Lux Research. Sales of such vehicles are tied to the cost of Li-ion batteries, Lux says, and early demand has fallen short of projections. However, ramping-up production of Li-ion batteries would only bring nominal battery pack cost down to $397/kWh in 2020 – far short of the $150/kWh target set by the US Advanced Battery Consortium and not enough to reach the mass market, the report says.