LG Chem, Panasonic and Samsung SDI are leading the light-duty electric vehicle lithium ion (Li-ion) battery market, according to a new Leaderboard report from Navigant Research. All three companies performed exceedingly well in strategy and execution.
With the exception of Toyota’s continued use of nickel-metal hydride batteries for strong hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), the Li-ion battery is now the de facto battery used in HEVs and plug-in vehicles (PEVs) with electric drivetrains. Navigant anticipates that most new production HEVs and all PEVs will be shipped with Li-ion batteries.
There are more than 100 global Li-ion cell manufacturers, but most concentrate on the consumer electronics space. Only companies that have an active sales channel and a specialized product for the automotive market were included in the Leaderboard report. Companies that participate solely in other market segments, such as electric buses or medium and heavy-duty trucks, were not included.
The most successful Li-ion battery manufacturers are large and financially stable companies or subsidiaries of these types of companies. Market leaders also provide Li-ion batteries to multiple markets, such as the consumer electronics and stationary grid energy storage markets.
Contenders have exhibited staying power in the market despite relatively slow growth while boasting significant financial reserves for future investment. Companies that fall into this category include AESC, Johnson Controls, BYD and A123.
The one company that fell into the Challengers category — Lithium Energy Japan — has some hurdles to overcome before establishing itself as a market leader.
No companies fell into the Followers category.
Navigant’s Leaderboard report seems to indicate that LG Chem has gained a significant amount of ground in the market over the last several months. An August 2015 Lux Research report ranked Panasonic as the market leader in the EV battery market.