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Live reporting from AABC 2013: market development of EVs and their batteries

The Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) is taking place in Pasadena, California, until 8 February 2013. Chaired by Dr Menahem Anderman, AAB President, Session 1 of AABTAM focuses on market development of EVs, PHEVs, HEVs and their batteries. As an official media partner, provides a summary of the presentations in this first update from AABC 2013.

In Dr. Menahem Anderman's update on the EV and battery markets he highlighted the fact that CO2 emission reduction comes at a premium price, for BEV, PHEV but also for HEV, even for micro hybrids. As PHEV and EV premium prices are still too high, AAB is expecting these markets to grow significantly through 2020 but they will be “predominantly driven by government policies, both incentives and mandates”, said Dr. Anderman.

HEV market forecasts

According to Dr. Anderman, Toyota has strengthened its position as a leader in the HEV sector in 2012, and will continue to do so in 2013 and for the following years. With an estimated production in 2016 of 1,3 million HEVs, representing a a fifth of Toyota’s HEV production, Honda is the second most important manufacturer of HEVs. The rest of the market combined barely equals Honda's HEV production.

Regarding the battery market, the Li-ion market share in full hybrids is expanding fast, with an expected $1 billion threshold to be reached in 2015. The search for the optimal mild hybridization level, above stop/start and below mild hybrid, is picking up again thanks to a strong lead from German manufacturers.

EV & PHEV market forecasts

According to AAB, Toyota will be the OEM producing the most PHEVs, with 60,000 in 2016. Geographically, the US would lead the market with 35% of the market share, followed by China with 30%, Europe with 25%, and 10% for Japan and the rest of the world.

Regarding EVs, Renault-Nissan will produce close to 40,000 full EVs per year as of 2015, making them the biggest producer by far. Geographically, Europe will represent 35% of the EV market in 2020, followed by the US with 30%, China with 25%, leaving 10% for Japan and the rest of the world.

However, Dr. Anderman highlighted that without a breakthrough in battery cost and performance, the EV market is likely to stay below 1% even through 2023-2025. Regarding the battery market, it is important to understand that in the short term, the overcapacity in automotive Li-ion cell production is severe and will have important consequences on the battery market.

Overview of China’s industry situation

There are currently about 25,000 EVs in 25 cities in China. E-buses are already in place in 6 cities, and 5 of them have e-buses powered via LiFePO4 batteries.

National and local incentives are, like in Europe and in the US, a strong driver of the market growth. The commercial target for China is to have accumulated sales for BEV and PHEV of 500,000 by 2015, and 5 million by 2020.

Regarding the battery market, NiMH batteries are still widely used in HEVs in China. However, Li-ion batteries will be largely promoted in the next five years by the industry and the government.

According to HCA Consulting China, “Although there are many claimed LiFePO4 (LFP) battery producers in China, there are probably less than 20 of them that can really produce batteries”, with only 8 companies leading the market (BYD, ATL, BAK, Beijing MGL, Tianjin Lishen, China Aviation Lithium Battery
Zhejiang Wanxiang, Shenzhen Optimum).

Regarding battery material, there are less than twenty LiFePO4 material producers in China, and the current output is still limited with inconsistent quality.

Going down to the material level, the estimated total anode capacity in China was less than 50,000MT/year in 2012 (Shenzhen BRT and Shanghai Shanshan account for almost 65% of the market in China in 2012). Regarding electrolyte capacity, there are about 14 Li-battery electrolytes producers in China with a total capacity 63,700 MT/year.

Finally, the total separation membrane capacity in China is estimated to be 450 million m2/year, with 60 million m2 used for batteries for electric vehicles. According to HCA Consulting Group, “the investment in separation membrane in China is still increasing and total capacity will reach to 1 billion m2 by 2015 with a strong focus on Li-battery electric vehicles.”