NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The global push for fuel economy has prompted a growing gravitational pull towards electric vehicle cars, prompting the investment community to increasingly consider the makers of rechargeable lithium batteries for these cars as an investment opportunity.
For the moment, nickel-hydride batteries are more commonly found in electric vehicles, but in theory, lithium batteries may eventually become the power source of choice. According to leading auto parts supplier Johnson Controls (JCI), which has been growing its lithium battery business, lithium batteries are 30% smaller, 50% lighter, and three to four times more energy dense than nickel-hydride batteries. Furthermore, lithium lasts longer and is two to three times faster to recharge, the company says.
Pike Research forecasts that the market for lithium batteries for transportation will grow to nearly $8 billion by 2015 from $875.6 million market in 2010. More importantly, as manufacturing efficiencies improve and access to lithium expands, the cost of lithium batteries will fall by a half between 2010 and 2015 to less than $500 per kilowatt hour, according to Pike Research.
A number of companies in the lithium battery business have been working around the clock to position themselves for the expected expansion of the electric car market. Here we take a look at those who took a beating in 2010....
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