After many bankruptcies among li-ion battery producers in the US, it is time to look beyond these borders.
Well known Chinese company, Sinopoly Battery (previously Thunder Sky Battery and for some time paralleled with Winston Battery), was providing LiFePO4 cells for customers who wanted to convert their cars to electric in Europe and in the US.
Hundreds EV converters have been using these originally yellow cells (now black) for years because they are relatively cheap, solid, safe, easy to build and long lasting. Similar batteries are also produced and sold by CALB (also a Chinese company that licensed it from Thunder Sky Battery and now probably has some own species of it with even better performance).
But let's go back to Sinopoly Battery and its current situation. Are they viable or not? Well, not.
Revenues of Sinopoly Battery are shrinking year after year and losses remain high.
In their fiscal year that ended 31 March, 2013 revenues were only about $6.9M of which 98.7% comes from li-ion bussines (rest is probably income from a bank account).
The company did manage to increase the efficiency of production, so gross profit increased to approximately 12.3%. At least they are not losing money on every cell, but scale of production is too small to offset total costs.
Net losses are 6-times higher then total revenues. It's not strange that in financial report you can find such statements, though few bother to read these lengthy reports:
"The aforementioned conditions indicate the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt on the ability of the Group and the Company to continue as a going concern."
Moreover, can you believe that salaries and allowances amounted about $7.9M in FY2013? This is more than total revenues, but Sinopoly Battery does have roughly one thousand employees.
We don't know how many kWh of batteries Sinopoly Battery produced, but if we assume price of not higher than $1 per Ah, it could be minimum of 7 million Ah (but it could be as high as 15 million Ah). Really that's not too much (maybe about 1,500 25 kWh packs.)
During FY2013 Sinopoly Battery shipped out its products in these percentages: Europe (38.9%), China (27.5%), Australia (9.8%), US (9.2%), Hong Kong (4.2%) and others (10.4%).
And now we know that on the other side of the world the current situation is basically the same. The li-ion battery business is like a hard piece of bread (it's tough to crack in to).
With Sinopoly Battery losess we don't expect that LiFePO4 will be cheaper any time soon.