These are the world's six biggest electric vehicle battery makers

27 November 2019 - 08:48 By Reuters
A battery pack for the Nissan Motor Co Leaf e+ electric vehicle (EV) on display in a showroom at the company's global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan.
A battery pack for the Nissan Motor Co Leaf e+ electric vehicle (EV) on display in a showroom at the company's global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan.
Image: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Asian companies dominate the market for electric vehicle (EV) batteries and they are expanding their production capacity in Europe, China and the US in a fight to win lucrative contracts from global automakers.

Some carmakers worry, however, there won't be enough batteries for all the EVs they plan to launch in the coming years and a bitter row between South Korea's SK Innovation and LG Chem risks worsening the potential shortfall.

Below are details of the world's leading EV battery makers, with details of their customers and expansion plans:

Wooden crates stand outside the Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) factory in Arnstadt, Germany.
Wooden crates stand outside the Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) factory in Arnstadt, Germany.
Image: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CATL

China's Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), the world's biggest EV battery maker, counts BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler — which makes Mercedes cars — Volvo, Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co among its customers.

The company emerged as a major force partly due to Beijing's policy of only subsidising vehicles equipped with Chinese batteries in the world's biggest EV market. Beijing is phasing out EV subsidies next year.

CATL, which operates factories in China, is building its first overseas plant in Germany and is considering a US factory.

The Panasonic Corp logo is displayed atop the company's showroom in Tokyo, Japan.
The Panasonic Corp logo is displayed atop the company's showroom in Tokyo, Japan.
Image: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

PANASONIC CORP

Japan's Panasonic, a supplier of US EV pioneer Tesla, said it has installed equipment to ramp up production at Tesla's Nevada plant to 35 GWh from its current production of about 30 GWh, as of late October. Panasonic has said it is investing about $1.6bn (roughly R23.7bn) in the factory.

Panasonic also produces EV batteries in Japan, China and plans to shift some of its plants to a new joint venture with Toyota. Panasonic's clients also include Honda and Ford Motor Company.

China's BYD, which is backed by US investor Warren Buffett, is also one of the world's biggest EV battery makers.
China's BYD, which is backed by US investor Warren Buffett, is also one of the world's biggest EV battery makers.
Image: Kevin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

BYD CO LTD

China's BYD, which is backed by US investor Warren Buffett, is also one of the world's biggest EV battery makers. It mainly uses them in-house for its cars and buses. BYD said last year it is was considering cell production in Europe.

An attendee walks past the LG Chem Ltd logo at the company's booth at the EV Trend Korea exhibition in Seoul, South Korea, in 2018.
An attendee walks past the LG Chem Ltd logo at the company's booth at the EV Trend Korea exhibition in Seoul, South Korea, in 2018.
Image: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

LG CHEM LTD

The South Korean firm was an early industry mover, winning a contract to supply General Motor's Volt in 2008. It also supplies Ford, Renault, Hyundai Motor, Tesla, Volkswagen and Volvo.

It is investing 3.3 trillion won (about R41,5bn) to build and expand production facilities near Tesla's plant in Shanghai. It has a joint venture (JV) in China with Geely Automobile Holdings, which makes Volvos, and is in talks with other carmakers about JVs in major markets.

The firm is considering building a second US factory, in addition to its facility in Michigan, and is expanding its plant in Poland.

An ABB Ltd robotic arm holds a battery cell, manufactured by Samsung SDI Co, at the Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) automobile manufacturing plant in Dingolfing, Germany.
An ABB Ltd robotic arm holds a battery cell, manufactured by Samsung SDI Co, at the Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) automobile manufacturing plant in Dingolfing, Germany.
Image: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SAMSUNG SDI CO LTD

Samsung SDI, an affiliate of South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics, has EV battery plants in South Korea, China and Hungary, which supply customers such as BMW, Volvo and Volkswagen.

Samsung SDI is investing about €1.2bn (about R19,2bn) to expand its factory in Hungary. However, the EU is investigating whether Budapest's financial support complies with the bloc's state aid rules.

Samsung started production last year on the Hungary plant, which will produce batteries for 50,000 EVs a year.

SK INNOVATION CO LTD

LG Chem's crosstown rival, SK Innovation, supplies batteries to Volkswagen, Daimler and Kia Motors, as well as Jaguar Land Rover and Ferrari.

An oil refiner that came to the battery industry late, SKI is investing about $3.9bn (about R57,8bn) to build three plants in the US, China and Hungary, with a goal of expanding its annual production capacity to 33 GWh by 2022.

SKI currently operates one battery factory in South Korea, with a capacity of 4.7 GWh annually.

It set up a joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC) of China in August 2018 and another Chinese partner. It is in talks with Volkswagen about another battery JV and is building a $1.7bn about R25bn) factory in Georgia, US, not far from Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant.


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