The global lithium-ion battery market was worth $11.7 billion in 2012 and is expected to double by 2016, according to Frost & Sullivan. This will happen despite the recent issues experienced by Boeing, and despite Airbus decision to abandon these batteries. In fact, these incidents may affect the demand only in the short-term.
“Although consumer application accounts for the highest revenues, fastest growth can be witnessed in the industrial segment,” confirms Frost & Sullivan’s Research Manager Malavika Tohani. North America holds the highest share of revenues for consumer and industrial applications while Europe boasts the highest revenues for industrial lithium-ion batteries (LiBs). The highest growth in industrial battery demand is expected to come from APAC. China, Japan and South Korea account for close to 85-90% of the global LiB production.
China, in particular, has the highest concentration of LiB manufacturers: over 200 players catering especially to the consumer segment and around 30-40 companies for automotive applications. The Chinese Government is strongly promoting EVs, grid scale energy storage and smart grids. Furthermore, many of the US companies that have gone bankrupt have been acquired by Chinese firms and hence this region is expected to further strengthen itself as a leader for LiB production.
In the USA, Obama administration’s ARRA funding saw many LiB companies being set up or expanding existing facilities, mainly to cater to the automotive (EV) segment. The past two years have seen many of these companies go bankrupt with the funding drying up. Moreover, the ongoing economic slowdown coupled with high cost of EVs (mainly due to high battery cost) has resulted in less demand for EVs than expected in the past 1-2 years. The number of EVs on the road is much lower than anticipated and this has affected the demand for batteries.
Germany is a strong contributor among European countries and the demand for batteries comes from all the three segments: consumer, industrial and automotive. Germany and Switzerland are the energy storage/battery R&D hubs and quite a few manufacturers are based in these two countries.
The global LiB market holds immense opportunities for growth and expansion. Although the consumer segment is mature in developed economies, this still is a growing application in Latin America, China, India and so on. The highest potential for growth however is exhibited by the industrial applications. Manufacturers that were previously involved only on producing and selling batteries for the automotive segment are now revaluating their strategies and have started to sell LiBs for cordless power tools, forklifts, and garden equipment, along with the batteries for automotive segment.
Source: Frost & Sullivan