Panasonic, BYD & LG Chem Were Largest EV Battery Suppliers In 2015

1 year ago by Mark Kane 36

Top lithium-ion battery for electric cars in 2015 (data source: EV Sales Blog)

Top lithium-ion battery producers for electric cars in 2015 (data source: EV Sales Blog)

Panasonic lithium-ion battery cells

Panasonic lithium-ion battery cells

According to estimations, three lithium-ion battery suppliers – Panasonic, BYD and LG Chem – delivered nearly two thirds of all lithium-ion cells for electric cars (out of some 13 GWh total).

Top six – including AESC (Nissan/NEC), Mitsubishi/GS Yuasa and Samsung SDI – takes some 84% of the market.

The largest player was and continues to be (with similar 38% market share) Panasonic, which supplies Tesla Motors as well as some other companies (such as plug-in ramping, Volkswagen). Panasonic delivered over 4.5 GWh of EV li-ion batteries in 2015.

Chinese BYD supplies mostly its own electric car and buses, which makes its pace of growth even more amazing – up over 250% up in one year and second place at 1.65 GWh.

BYD was even able to take second place from LG Chem, which can boast the largest future portfolio of automotive customers, but without that significant demand just yet. LG Chem exceed 1.4 GWh.

Chevrolet Bolt EV Battery - 60 kWH

LG Chem will attack #1 with 60 kWh battery for the Chevrolet Bolt EV

AESC (Nissan’s JV with NEC) stepped back a bit in 2015 to less than 1.3 GWh, as LEAF sales decreased significantly prior to 30 kWh version launch. From the same reason, results could now improve, if only due to 30 kWh cars selling as well as the previous 24 kWh editions.

Lithium Energy Japan (Mitsubishi’s JV with GS Yuasa) is supplying mostly 12 kWh pack for the Outlander PHEV, which is enough on its own to hit the top 5 with 0.6 GWh.

Sixth largest lithium-ion battery supplier seems to be Samsung SDI, that crossed 0.5 GWh.

source: EV Sales Blog

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36 responses to "Panasonic, BYD & LG Chem Were Largest EV Battery Suppliers In 2015"

  1. sven says:

    These figures don’t include batteries for EV buses, which would significantly bump up BYD’s numbers. Likewise, the figures don’t include Li-ion batteries used for other applications such as energy storage and electronics like laptop computers.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I’d love to see figures for the top several battery cell makers by market: EVs, consumer electronics, and any other significant category. I’m not sure stationary energy storage is yet a significant market, but according to many news reports it is rapidly growing. It may well grow even faster than the EV market.

    2. Weapon says:

      Adding buses will not impact BYD’s ranking (assuming the buses were not included). So not sure how it matters.

      1. mr. M says:

        BYD wanted to sell 6,000 electric Buses in 2015. The buses from BYD have between 200-350kWh each. Lets assume they sold the 300kWh version in the average.

        So with Buses BYD should be around 1.8GWh higher, meaning a total of 3.4GWh. Still behind the 4.5GWh of Panasonic, but very close.

  2. jerryd says:

    They better start ramping up as in 3 yrs they will need 3x’s as much as 200 mile EV’s and home, building and grid market ramp up rather fast, as fast as they can ramp up $150/kwhr batteries.
    And it’ll only increase from there as all those offgrid homes in the 3rd world and many on or offgrid depending on how greedy the utilities are means battery production only has 1 direction, up.
    There will soon be many other kinds of batteries like metal/air, lithium sulfur that can give 5x’s present capacity in 5-10 yrs, they can already do them as primary, swappable and give even 100 mile EV’s 1,000 mile range.
    And will make EV aircraft and EV semi’s practical.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Unless gravimetric energy density of batteries increases substantially — by something like 400% or more — long-range EV aircraft are not going to be viable. For short-range travel, they can be at least in some cases.

      But even with lightweight batteries, EV aircraft will not be able to compete for long-distance passenger service. Prop-driven planes cannot cruise at the ~0.9 Mach speed of jet aircraft.

      I’ve seen proposals for MHD*-driven aircraft, but these would require room temperature superconductors. That may be possible someday, but at present it’s in the realm of science fiction.

      *magnetohydrodynamic drive

      1. Will says:

        Huh? The current plan with aircraft is to use electric propulsion for take off and landing, and regular fuel for the flight. This is because a staggering amount, almost a quarter in most cases, of fuel is used in taking off. This makes hybrid electric/kerosene technology ideal for short-haul flights.

        1. Ziv says:

          If the aircraft just has enough power to get to 25,000 feet and then switch over to jet fuel, it would be enough for the taxiing to the terminal if it has re-gen on braking. Can you imagine how many kWh of juice you could get with an aircraft braking from 140 knots at landing to 10 mph as they head to the terminal?
          I don’t think my Volt could handle quite that fast a charge rate! LOL!

          1. Speculawyer says:

            Yeah, I don’t think anything could handle that charge rate right now. Besides, isn’t most of the braking done with air brakes on the wings and reversal of the thrust on the jet engines?

            1. Josh says:

              Exactly, design an electric jet engine that does “reverse thrust” aka regen.

              Just the deceleration from cruising speed to pre-landing velocity, could be enough to provide a significant recharge. Cooling the batteries during heavy charging while at altitude would be easy. Follow this up with DCQC at the terminal to “top it off”. There is 30 minutes of turnover time, which is ideal for a DCQC.

              The hybrid aircraft sounds like a no brainer. I will ping some of my aerospace buddies and see what they know about the TRL of the tech.

              1. Speculawyer says:

                I see. I guess that could work.

                1. jerryd says:

                  It isn’t a guess, they already do it
                  Spec.
                  Interesting EV replacing gasoline engines they have to power up the engine while going down or the engine will overcool and seize.
                  So one you keep wasting fuel vs EV you recharge.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          The most widely discussed proposal for a large “hybrid” aircraft I’ve read about is the SUGAR Volt. But look a bit closer, and you’ll see that won’t cruise at 0.9 Mach.

          That sort of aircraft simply can’t compete for commercial passengers or air freight on anything but short “puddle jumper” flights, where top speed is less important, and prop-driven aircraft can compete with jets.

          I suppose in theory a turbojet would be a “switch hitter”, using electricity to take off and jet propulsion for cruising. But I haven’t seen any proposals for such a plane which could actually cruise at 0.9 Mach. The SUGAR Volt has a large straight wing, more like a sailplane than a commercial jet. Obviously such a wing configuration isn’t compatible with high speed.

          So I’m going to stand on what I previously posted. This won’t compete for long distance commercial flights. At best, it will only serve a niche market.

      2. Speculawyer says:

        I can’t say that I have put much analysis into it but I really don’t see battery powered aircraft being practical in the next 25 years. That would require some big breakthrough in lithium-air batteries or something like that. There will be small scale private EV airplanes and EV drones . . . but not commercial jets and transport planes.

        1. SJC says:

          A fuel cell/hybrid electric plane running on reformed renewable liquid fuel could be a possibility.

      3. jerryd says:

        PP, yes it will have that much better performance. We already have it in zinc/air and alum/air primary batteries, they just need production.
        And I was talking full trips to say 1,000 miles. More than that a synfuel GT could extend the range.
        Present EV production planes do about 400 miles and increasing using stock lithium batteries.
        As for props at .9mach, what do you think is inside the cowling? Peaches?
        Remember you only need 35% of the energy for the same performance.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          jerryd said:

          “As for props at .9mach, what do you think is inside the cowling? Peaches?”

          I don’t understand what you’re trying to say here. If you’re suggesting propellers can drive a plane in level flight at 0.9 Mach, that’s factually incorrect.

          Quoting from Wikipedia’s “Turboprop” article:

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          Propellers lose efficiency as aircraft speed increases, so turboprops are normally not used on high-speed aircraft above Mach 0.6-0.7. However, propfan engines, which are very similar to turboprop engines, can cruise at flight speeds approaching Mach 0.75.
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turboprop#Technological_aspects

          jerryd, if you’re talking about the fan — not a propeller — seen at the front of large commercial jet engines, the purpose of those fans is to pull more air into the jet engine. They don’t provide significant thrust.

          1. jerryd says:

            PP, a fan is a prop by another name.
            Just a multiple bladed one with a duct around it.
            And there is a reason it is called a bypass fan, it bypasses the core and provides most of the trust.
            There are few pure jets anymore with even supersonic jets running bypass fans.
            Times changed 4 decades ago, try to keep up.

    2. Speculawyer says:

      That’s the big question . . . how fast will the growth continue. Many automakers and auto buyers are still at all sold on electric cars. But Tesla is continuing to push hard.

      It is a real question of “tipping point”. Will the batteries get cheap enough and the EVs get good enough so that there is a much larger switch over to EVs. We are talking about an industry that has been making gasoline ICE cars for a century now . . . switching to EVs is a big deal.

      It is really a big question of battery prices, climate change rules, oil prices, consumer education, product quality, solar PV prices (EVs make a great complementary product), etc.

      1. Josh says:

        Once the unsubsidized cost of a “200 mile” BEV is on par with an ICE, and available in all the same size/shape/form as ICEs, there will be a landslide.

        The question will be when and if that can be done across all vehicle classes. Trucks will likely be the last holdout, with the expectation of their utility. (Off-road/high ground clearance, heavy towing/high weight, payload capacity/terrible aerodynamics, etc.)

        It will be a slow creep to 10% market share, then rising to 60% market share in a few years after availability.

        My guess with information available today: Mid 2020s the 10% will hit, and 60% will be around 2030.

        1. Speculawyer says:

          But I don’t think the unsubsidized price of a 200+ mile EV will ever be on par with a typical ICE car. You can get away with it in the high-end segment where you can hide the battery in the higher price.

          But in the low-level car market, it is very difficult to make cheap EVs.

  3. Mirco says:

    Pannasonic and BYD have both only few customers. LG Chem has more then 20 customers and I think this ranking list will be changed soon.

    1. Ryan says:

      You think 20 customers for LG is a good thing? That is just 20 customers who will be fighting over the same limited capacity… this is precisely why Tesla has recognized that it will need to build it’s own battery factory to meet the demand of affordable, 200 mile range cars.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        +100

      2. ModernMarvelFan says:

        “That is just 20 customers who will be fighting over the same limited capacity… ”

        Which means you have less pressure to lower price. If one doesn’t like it, it can just go take a hike. If you only have 1-2 customers, then you are betting your fortunate on that 1-2 lifelines…

        Diversity is a good thing for component suppliers.

    2. Speculawyer says:

      20 customers also may mean 20 different form factors, 20 different customers to keep happy, 20 different battery chemistries, etc.

      OK, they won’t all be different but I’m sure the different buyers do have different individual requirements.

      It looks like Panasonic lucked into a great relationship with Tesla. However, I’m sure it hasn’t been easy. I’m sure Tesla squeezes them real hard to keep the margins near zero. And Tesla pushed hard to invest heavily in the risky gigafactory (they were pretty much publicly mocking them as timid.)

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        That’s a good summary. Yes, Tesla has certainly been a highly profitable partner for Panasonic. But putting up with Tesla’s demands can’t be easy, and the way Elon keeps pushing Panasonic in public public, apparently trying to browbeat them into investing more heavily in the Gigafactory, can’t be easy to put up with.

      2. ModernMarvelFan says:

        “20 customers also may mean 20 different form factors, 20 different customers to keep happy, 20 different battery chemistries, etc.
        OK, they won’t all be different but I’m sure the different buyers do have different individual requirements.”

        Are they all that different in chemistry? Also, many of those so called battery chemistry can be “tunned” in the last stage of the process.

        The form factor are just “packaging”. The anode, cathode and electrolytes can be packaged according to requirement. Yes, the overhead on each will be slightly higher, but you are also under less pressure since you have more choices to balance the up/down demand.

    3. Weapon says:

      That is 20 customers on limited production cars. At this point the automakers are trying their hardest to keep away from Tesla so it won’t be seen like they are using their technology. But as Tesla continues to grow and offer better cars with more energy dense batteries they will have no choice.

      It isn’t a coincidence they all signed with LG. All automaker’s efforts to make a competitive battery failed so they signed on to LG as a last minute effort.

  4. SJC says:

    It seems like a good business to be in, I have read the advanced battery market will be $20 billion worldwide by 2020.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Good and bad. It is good in that there is indeed a growth market for EVs, home batteries, etc.

      But bad in that to really be a growth market they have the drive the margins down to around zero. They have to continually work hard to drive every nickel and dime they can out of the battery cost. And if you don’t then someone else will. It’s a race to the bottom that will likely end with just a few megacorporations victorious.

      1. Josh says:

        Exactly, like being a screen supplier to Apple.

      2. SJC says:

        24M has a way to reduce battery costs, innovation can lead the way were limited thinking fails.

  5. Peter says:

    I guess the orange bars are 2015 sales and the black bars are the 2014 sales? This isn’t mentioned anywhere in the bar graph or article.

    1. wavelet says:

      Yes (I was wondering as well and checked the source, EV sales Blog).
      In fact, IMO the most important datum is missing from the InsideEV article: Not which vendor is in which rank, but the growth of the overall market between 2014 and 2015. Going by the EV Sales Blog numbers, this was a healthy 71%.

    2. Speculawyer says:

      Yeah, I was wondering the same. So it is 2015 orange and 2014 black/gray, respectively?