In the transition to sustainable transportation, manufacturers of electric car batteries are a cog in the wheel. They’re among the main drivers of the electric car industry boom.
The electric car battery market is speculated to grow by leaps and bounds to over $95 billion by 2028, thanks to the increasing demand to decarbonize. The world is strutting towards a greener future, and this is playing to the hands of EVs (electric vehicles) and battery manufacturers.
So, who are the leading players in the electric car batteries industry? What do you need to know about the manufacturers?
Leading Manufacturers of Electric Car Batteries
Given its growing importance in the evolution of the transportation industry, electric battery manufacture has seen unprecedented growth. The EV battery market has become highly competitive.
Chinese manufacturers have the lion’s share of electric car battery manufacturing, with as much as 56% of the market. The Korean and Japanese battery producers closely follow them at 26% and 10%.
LG Energy Solution received a bad rap following the recall of 143,000 Chevy Bolt EVs, and the South Korean supplier would reimburse $1.9 billion. Despite the strict scrutiny, LG Energy Solution remains a top-five EV battery manufacturer. Ultium Cells is a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solution, with a completed factory in Warren, Ohio—Ultium Cells currently powers Cadillac Lyriq and the GMC Hummer EV.
Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) is leading the charge for electric car battery manufacturers in China. According to Seoul-based SNE Research, East China’s Fujian province-based CATL is the largest EV battery manufacturer. By November 2022, the Chinese manufacturer of electric car batteries had installed 165.7-gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery cells for the year. According to SNE Research, this was a 101.8 percent leap compared to the previous year. CATL’s global market rose to 37.1 percent from 32.8 percent the previous year.
CATL, established in 2011, has a market cap of nearly $1.3 trillion. The firm has a strategic partnership with BMW and has established joint-venture business arrangements with various Chinese EV manufacturers. The list includes FAW Group, Geely Auto Group, Dongfeng Motor, SAIC Motor, and GAC Group.
Currently, two technologies are used in manufacturing EV batteries: NCM (lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese) and LFP (lithium, iron, and phosphate). LFP and NCM batteries made by CATL are the most popular in the global market.
Chinese Manufacturers of Electric Car Batteries Leading the Way
BYD is another big player from China, with a vast installation volume of as much as 60.6 GWh, accounting for 13.6 percent of the global market share. Berkshire Hathaway owns 14.9 percent of Shenzhen-based EV and battery makers. This investment seems to have paid off as BYD sold a record number of electric cars towards the tail end of 2022. LFP battery packs by BYD have a long, thin design to reduce the space needed. These were previously supplied to Tesla’s Berlin factory.
But apart from CATL and BYD, other Chinese manufacturers of electric car batteries making waves include Gotion High-tech, CALB, Eve Energy, and Sunwoda.
With two-thirds of the global EV sales, China is a vast market for electric car batteries. This explains why the manufacturers of electric car batteries in the country excel in the market. But while there’s a huge domestic market for the batteries, it may not be enough for the big players.
A newspaper by the Chinese State Council, Economic Daily, recently reported that the expansion by EV battery producers in the country would outpace the domestic demand by three times. As such, CATL and BYD have been supplying lithium-ion batteries to Tesla and BMW, among other international automakers. Lithium-ion-based batteries are well-received because they’re economical, safe, and high performance.
Manufacturing Processes for Electric Car Batteries
The EV battery manufacturing process is complex and involves various phases. The first step is usually to source raw materials such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium from around the world. These create battery cells, which are then assembled into battery packs. The manufacturing process requires significant amounts of water energy and other resources, which can impact the environment significantly.
The Great Push for Nickel in the EV Battery Revolution
There have been concerted efforts to replace the pricey cobalt with nickel, and LG Energy Solution is at the lead. The producer’s NCMA cells (nickel, cobalt, magnesium, aluminum) are on course to power General Motors’ EVs and the Chinese-made Teslas. LG Energy Solution batteries have at least 88% nickel, the best in the industry.
The benefit of stuffing NCMA cells is more energy and driving range, and the beauty is that battery pack redesigns aren’t necessary. Reports indicate that up to 60% of all EV batteries in 2020 had a high content of nickel cells. Other manufacturers of electric batteries, such as SK Innovation, LG, and CATL, are catching up.
Environmental Impacts of Electric Car Battery Manufacturing
The manufacturing process of EV batteries can impact the environment significantly. The process involves vast greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, resource depletion, and waste.
Various manufacturers of electric car batteries are increasingly using renewable energy in their production processes to mitigate these impacts. For example, battery manufacturers are developing effective recycling programs and sourcing raw materials sustainably.
Future Outlook for Electric Cars Batteries
As the demand for electric vehicles lingers, the market for EV batteries is projected to snowball in the next few years. There are expected to be new market entrants as governments worldwide establish industry-supporting regulations and policies. For example, the Biden administration has laid down comprehensive plans to support the transition to electrified transportation. The US is also investing in EV infrastructure.
On the other hand, many countries worldwide have announced phase-out plans for gasoline-powered vehicles. The various policies and initiatives are expected to drive the demand for electric car batteries forward and ensure a sustainable future.