Where do all the EV Batteries come from?

Where do all the EV Batteries come from?

January 7, 2023
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Now the EV and home storage battery market is here to stay, who are the companies making all the EV batteries?

Battery Facts

EV batteries cost the car manufacturers approximately 30% of the cost of an EV so reliable, cheap supply is critical.  The companies that have proved they can adapt and ramp up battery supply are a combination of traditional suppliers and new players.

 

But like every manufacturing business, while it takes time to scale up a new factory to full production, the leaders have done this very quickly and so far, very successfully.

Of course, EV’s aren’t and won’t be the only Lithium battery users.  Home and Industrial Battery Storage will be big business too but before we look at the major battery manufacturers, let’s look at few battery facts.

 

Overall battery prices have come down significantly in the last 10 years, despite the massive recent increase in key component, Lithium.   There are a few variations of Lithium based technology, but Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) is likely to be the scale tech for the foreseeable future.

 

For most EV’s individual batteries still look like normal AA batteries or cells, and by in large, they are still the same.  It’s just that there are aver 3,000 of them packed into an EV.

How are they different from AAA’s?

Manufacturing batteries for EV’s is not just the manufacture of these individual cells, like AA Duracell’s for toys and tools.  It’s also creating the package to house, connect and ventilate them all, for maximum efficiency and safety.  To achieve what the engineers call maximum Energy Density.  The aim is to pack as much electricity, measured in kilowatt/hours (kWh) into a battery pack, for the least weight.


EV batteries are also packed in tightly, as they get hot when there in use, and when they are being charged.  Most EV’s have a cooling (liquid or air) system to keep them at ideal operating temperatures.


To make more complex, batteries will only charge from Direct Current (DC), while most home power sources are Alternating Current (AC).


Then, while you’ve got all this electricity stored as DC (since you can’t store AC), it’s got to be converted back to AC to run the EV electric motor!


Typically, an EV might have between a 50 -100 kWh battery, and most EV’s can travel 5 – 6.5 km per kWh. 

It may come as a surprise, but unlike oil, there is no real limit to the amount of electricity we can produce.  It's just the cost of producing and storing it for later use that is the challenge!

Skate Board

The Big Players

Clearly, from the Chart below, Chinese owned companies make just over 50% of EV Batteries with CATL and BYD.  CATL (C A T L not Cat L) a company only established in 2011 has grown quickly and dominates the market supplying many of the major manufacturers: Tesla, Hyundai, BMW VW & Volvo, to name just a few.

 

BYD in third place is growing quickly, satisfying the demand for its own cars and increasingly other clients.  First of the rest is LG Energy Solution, a business spun off from the LG Chem Division of LG Group counts General Motors as a major client.  Conspicuously missing from the Chart below is the name Tesla.

 

While Tesla lead the way in battery form innovations, and owning the Gigafactories, Panasonic is actually making the batteries for Tesla.

CATL

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Limited (CATL), a listed Chinese company established in its current form in 2011, is the largest EV battery maker in the world with a third of the market in 2023.

As leaders in the Lithium Iron Phosphate battery technology, they supply many of the world's leading EV brands; Ford, Tesla, VW, Volvo, Xpeng, SAIC and Geely, plus many others.

LG Energy Solutions

Second place LG Energy Solutions was spun off the LG Group in 2020 to focus on the growing demand for EV batteries.

LG is a major supplier to General Motors, Tesla and VW.

BYD

Part of BYD (Build Your Dreams) Automotive Group, the 3rd ranking and now global Chinese EV company. They produce a vast range of ICE and EV's as well as their own EV batteries - supplying other manufacturers as well (maybe Tesla and Toyota).

Online sources suggest BYD has over 20 battery production plants which specialise in Blade battery structure using LFP chemistry.

Panasonic

Panasonic, at 10% market share is a well-established battery maker, but almost entirely contracted with Tesla at their GigaFactories.

They have worked hand in hand with Tesla since 2011, as strategic partner and investor.

Current EV battery production will continue to be scaled up to meet demand. Production techniques will be refined (sped up) and scale is expected to bring battery cost down further.

This will allow EV's to really go mainstream as the demand for batteries is expected to quadruple over the next 10 years.

But like all tech, expect electricity storage to get smaller, faster and cheaper.

The Author does not own any shares in the above companies, or any battery manufacturers.  The Author does own a Tesla Model Y and an interest in various Lithium producers.

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