EV Battery Makers 2016: Panasonic And BYD Combine to Hold Majority Of Market

FEB 6 2017 BY MARK KANE 34

In 2016, sales of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles increased by some 66%, up from 12.3 GWh of capacity to 20.4 GWh according to recent data compiled by the EV Sales Blog.

The pace of battery production growth is even faster than the growth of EVs themselves (up ~40% worldwide last year), as average battery capacity inside those sales is growing at the same time.

Also adding to the uneven split between produce capcity gains and EV sales, is the ratio of larger battery all-electric vehicles (BEVs) to smaller battery plug-in hybrids (PHEV), with BEVs growing faster in 2016.

MWh of EV li-ion batteries produced in 2016 (data source: EV Sales Blog)

There are five major battery manufacturers was again lead by Panasonic/Tesla with ~6.7 GWh of installed capacity,which was an improvement of 45% from last year, but while still losing some market share (to 32%).

Second largest is BYD, which also noted the highest growth of the major battery makers, growing by 143% last year to 4 GWh. Only Samsung SDI can boast a similar growth rate (130%), but on a smaller scale, at nearly 1.2 GWh worth of production.

Interestingly, if one where to include the commercial business (specifically buses with their huge battery packs) BYD would be #1 in the segment overall…and we guess, it doesn’t really matter what type of EV the cells go into – in the overall EV battery-making game, BYD is now on top.

LG Chem also improved by 60% to 2.3 GWh, while AESC gained just 28% to 1.6 GWh.

source: EV Sales Blog

Categories: Battery Tech, BYD, Nissan, Tesla

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34 Comments on "EV Battery Makers 2016: Panasonic And BYD Combine to Hold Majority Of Market"

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So BYD both makes EVs, and the batteries for their EVs, with no partnership like Tesla and Panasonic?

I hadn’t realized that previously. I wonder how long Tesla will keep Panasonic as a partner… surely they could increase profit margins and/or reduce price by ditching Panasonic.

In the Tesla/Panasonic partnership Tesla takes the vast majority of the risk and profits.

Ditching Panasonic ditches a lot of know how without gaining a lot of margin. More likely is Tesla acquiring Panasonic and keeping the battery, automotive parts, plus solar and ditching the rest.

While the Big 3 are divesting Tesla has been vertically integrating. Instead of selling a parts division they could instead acquire one.

By you logic Tesla should be manufacturing tires, cameras and LCD displays. The reason why most manufactures are buying batteries is the same reason they buy tires – they are commodities. Right now it’s a race to the bottom on kWh pricing. Imagine if 3 – 4 years from now solid state batteries or liquid fuel batteries are viable. Where does that leave Tesla and there massive Li Ion battery plant?

By your logic Tesla should follow Fisker right into bankruptcy.

Battery cells are or least should be a core competency for an electric car manufacture.

Tires, glass, cameras do not differentiate one auto manufacture form another. Battery cells/packs do differentiate one electric car from another.

The reason most car makers buy cells is because electric vehicles are a side show while the money maker is gasoline and diesel engines.

BTW 3/4 years from now Tesla will be manufacturing ~1M cars per year.

Solid State and other so called super batteries will still be in vaporware fantasyland.

Lithium Ion cells will be the standard for at least another 10 years. In 10 years the GF equipment will be fully depreciated,amortized, and ready to be replaced if need be.

Rob, I hope you are right. But Tesla has sold just 17k, 16k, 25k and 47k in the US these past 4 years. [50k and 76k sales worldwide in 2015 and 2016]
Tesla probably won’t sell more than 140k cars worldwide this year. Getting to a million cars sold per year? That is a tough row to hoe.
The Gigafactory and the arrival of the III are going to accelerate their sales/production growth, but it isn’t magic.
If Tesla sells more than 600k vehicles in 2020 it will be a cause for celebration. But I have to admit that 2 years ago I would have probably guessed that Tesla would be selling around 400k cars by 2020, so there is that.

It leaves Tesla as a leader in EV performance and autonomous drive / fleet market share, but with less or none of an advantage in battery costs and range. Not a bad place to be.
Oh, and still the largest installer of solar and probably micro-grid operator.

Also, at the scale of Tesla’s need, even if we regarded battery packs as a commodity, they couldn’t rely on a single vendor.

If something better than a 2170 cell becomes available, the invitation is open for another maker to put it in a car and compete.

I don’t think battery energy storage is yet a commodity. There’s still plenty that can be done to get more energy density & perhaps manufacture them more quickly.
After decades of relative stagnation we appear to be poised at the cusp of a storage revolution. That will benefit humanity far more than mere electrification of transport

@ Rob Stark:

You make some good points, but note that Panasonic makes a lot more than batteries. It may make sense for Tesla to buy out Panasonic’s battery division, but even that division makes li-ion batteries for consumer electronics. Presumably Tesla has no interest in that market.

* * * * *

@ Taylor S Marks:

What you’re missing is that BYD started out as a battery maker, which only later expanded into automobile manufacturing. So they had the battery making expertise to start with.

Tesla has no expertise at making battery cells; only in analyzing them and figure out which of many alternatives (in chemistry, form factor, and internal structure) they’ve analyzed will work best for them.

Now, that’s not to say it’s impossible for Tesla to bring that expertise in-house. But note that Nissan also partnered with an existing battery maker, to build its NESC battery factories. So I suggest it’s easier to partner with an existing battery maker than for an EV manufacturer to “go it alone”.

BYD is the outlier here.

For the foreseeable future they’ll be Panasonic. They’re joined at the hip on this. Tesla’s a huge customer and Panasonic’s a huge supplier and they’re working together, and hooking up on solar as well.

There’s no reason why BYD whould be any cheaper than Panasonic+Gigafactory with highly automated manufacturing, for the kind of characteristics that Tesla needs and the Panasonic cells can deliver.

BYD is iron phosphate, not really state of the art.

What is state of art …

Iron phosphate has many good properties, like non-flammable, high-power, long life and relatively low cost. It is not as energy dense, but the technology is improving on that front with tweaks.

It’s a different approach than Panasonic and LG, but I don’t think you can say definitively which approach is better. BYD is the global leader in EVs produced this year and dominates the bus market. I wouldn’t trash talk them.

BYD is a battery company that bought a car company a bit over a decade ago just to put batteries in cars. 🙂

You surely had a phone with a BYD battery in it once. 😛

Sale more battery,more expensive battery,more and more expensive battery…is BYD’s dream…


Nobody have better scale then Panasonic.
Panasonic is in best position to offer Tesla best prices, best risk support, best technology advancements.

Sure in 5 years there may be competition (LG looking at You), that would allow Tesla to split supplies into two batches, one from each supplier.

But ditching Panasonic? o_O

If pana delivers to tesl,
7600kwh / 85kwh = less than hundred teslas.

I really dont understand these numbers.

Wtfyo ?

Graph/article is expressed in MWh (and GWh), not kWh.

So…7,600kwh / 85kwh = less than hundred teslas, is actually:

7,600,000kwh / 85kwh = less than hundred thousand teslas
(also of note: the tally for Panasonic is actually 6,665 MWh, not 7,600)

6700 not 7600, and MWh not kWh. Then, you are in the right ballpark with “less than hundred [thousand] Teslas”.

/double-same time post FTW

It would be quit helpful to include buses and battery energy storage. And just exclude consumer electronics.

Then we could gauge “new demand” from the transition to sustainable energy vs “old demand” from gadgets.

My error, 1000 factor off. 6700MWh / 85kWh is indeed quite a lot of vehicles and other surpluss.


Sorry, this article is meaningless without adding bus batteries.

Whereas the vehicle market can be split to passenger vs. bus vs. other heavy vehicles, the battery scene is one and the same.

According to EV sales, BYD produced nearly 5 GWh of bus batteries last year, combining for a total of nearly 9 GWh overall.

The market for li-ion batteries is dominated by consumer electronics, not by EV battery packs. And there are several varieties of li-ion batteries on the market. It’s definitely not “all the same market”.

Once you factor in BYD’s bus battery sales, BYD actually comes ahead for the first time this year, and for that matter, CATL comes to third. Via ev-sales.blogspot.com (note comments on EV outputs)

It looks like Nissan is falling behind. I hope Nissan begins to grow.

Not sure Nissan even cares that much any longer. I think EVs have been a big money loser for them — if not they would have had a gen-2 near the same time as the gen-2 Volt.

The all-electric Nissan e-NV200 was the best selling electric van in Europe during 2016

The Leaf was the best selling plug-in globally in 2016.

Nissan made bigger improvements to the Gen 1 Leaf than GM did with Gen 1 Volt. And so Nissan can squeeze an extra year or two from the design.

They are a little behind schedule on the Gen 2, I’d guess, perhaps to bring it up to the standard set by the Bolt, but the Gen 1 Leaf will continue to be a global top-seller in the first half of 2017 because Nissan will compete hard on price while offering a proven 100+ mile range EV.

Its hard to respect companies that have been sucessful because China wanted them to be (BYD and CATL). Keep up the good fight panasonic, lg and samsung. Your tech and quality is way better.

*lol*… Because there is no support for domestic companies in South Korea or Japan. 😛

Why they are all Asian companies, Japan/China/Korea, where are the American and European companies?

Anyone onow where Panasonic, LG, Nissan & BYD get their lithium from?