With increasing interest in electric vehicles (EVs) from consumers, the market for lithium-ion EV batteries is now a $27 billion per year business.
According to industry experts, high demand has boosted battery manufacturers’ profits and brought heavy competition to the market. And by 2027, the market could further grow to $127 billion as consumers embrace more affordable EVs.
Besides being a manufacturing powerhouse of vehicle parts, Asia is fast becoming a hotbed for innovation in the battery sector.
No wonder, the top 10 EV battery manufacturers by market share are all headquartered in Asian countries, concentrated in China, Japan, and South Korea.
According to data from SNE Research, the top three battery makers—CATL, LG, and, Panasonic—combine for nearly 70% of the EV battery manufacturing market.
Based in China’s coastal city of Ningde, best known for its tea plantations, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) has risen in less than 10 years to become the biggest global battery group.
The Chinese company provides lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries to Tesla, Peugeot, Hyundai, Honda, BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo, and shares in the company gained 160% in 2020, lifting CATL’s market capitalization to almost $186 billion.
CATL counts nine people on the Forbes list of global billionaires. Its founder, Zeng Yuqun, born in a poor village in 1968 during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, is now worth almost as much as Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
China also hosts the fourth biggest battery manufacturer, Warren Buffett-backed BYD.
Outside China, CATL faces tough competition from established players LG and Panasonic, respectively second and third on our ranking.
With more than 100 years of history, Panasonic has Tesla and Toyota among its battery buyers. LG pouch cells are used in EVs from Jaguar, Audi, Porsche, Ford, and GM.
President Joe Biden’s strategy to make the United States a powerhouse in electric vehicles includes boosting domestic production of batteries. European countries are also looking to reduce decades of growing reliance on China.
As Western countries speed up, new players are expected to rise.
A host of next-generation battery technologies are already being developed by U.S. companies, including Ionic Materials, QuantumScape, Sila Nanotechnologies, Sion Power, and, Sionic Energy.
Any direction the market moves, certainly the forecast is bright for battery producers.
(This article first appeared in Visual Capitalist Elements)