How Big is the Battery Market for Electric Vehicles?

Until costs of lithium batteries drops, the market for electric-drive vehicles cold remain relatively small, article argues.

Published: 28-Sep-2009

On Thursday, A123 Systems (AONE) had an extremely successful IPO. The company uses proprietary nanoscale material technology developed at and licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A123 Systems is also utilizing its 215 employees for R&D on new generations of this core nanophosphate technology. It recently developed an ultra high power battery for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team that provides more than ten times the W/kg as compared to a standard Prius battery.

How big the market for batteries for electric cars and the competition A123 Systems faces are key issues facing investors. On the end-user side, data show that the number of EV (electric vehicle), HEV (hybrid electric vehicle), PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) models with an annual production run of at least 20,000 vehicles will grow from 19 models in 2009 to over 150 models in 2014 and over 200 models in 2019. In addition, estimates for the global lithium-ion battery market for automotive application in EVs, PHEVs, and HEVs are $31.9 million in 2009 growing to $21.8 billion by 2015 and $74.1 billion by 2020.

According to Dr. Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network, "Light-weight, high-energy-density lithium ion batteries, which can enable a car to go up to 300 miles on a charge, can cost as much as $35,000, which coincidentally is the replacement cost for the new Tesla Motors Roadster."


Renault Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn poses with Renault ZE electric concept car

Industry executives acknowledge that uncertainties linger over the batteries needed to power them.

Aptera Typ-1 electric car would use 10kWh battery pack.

Just one mine has enough lithium carbonate to produce the cells for almost 800 million 10kWh (Aptera-sized) battery packs. Pictured is Aptera Typ1.

BMW 7 Series ActiveHybrid

The joint ohnson Controls-Saft venture will manufacture the lithium on batteries at their factory in Nersac, France.


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