Lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries have become the clear leader in the emerging market for electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Steady but gradual growth in sales of electric vehicles, however, has limited opportunities for makers of advanced batteries, including Li-ion batteries. Several companies have either entered bankruptcy or shut down, leaving a few hardy firms struggling to remain solvent until the EV market creates a growing worldwide demand for electric drivetrains. According to a new Leaderboard report published by Navigant Research, LG Chem and Johnson Controls currently lead the EV battery market in terms of both strategy and execution.
“The lithium ion battery manufacturing space is not for the weak of heart,” says Sam Jaffe, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “The electric vehicle market is growing slowly and the battery manufacturers are engaged in a Darwinian fight for survival.”
Only three companies (LG Chem, Johnson Controls, and AESC) were ranked as “Leaders” in the report’s Leaderboard Grid. South Korea-based LG Chem surprised many in the automotive field by winning the Chevrolet Volt contract in 2008, and has since followed through with several other major automotive contracts. Deciding not to invest in building factories to serve a market that has not fully appeared yet, Johnson Controls has focused its strategy on developing the second generation of batteries. Its NMC battery chemistry, which will be officially launched late in 2013 or early in 2014, is highly regarded by many potential buyers and could win some of the world’s biggest automotive contracts. AESC, the joint venture between Nissan Motor Company and NEC, is the only manufacturer of Li-ion cells that is directly owned by an automotive manufacturer, and the company has produced significant volumes of batteries, primarily for the Nissan Leaf.
The report, “Navigant Research Leaderboard Report: Lithium Ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles”, examines the strategy and execution of 11 Li-ion battery vendors that are active in the electric vehicle market and rates them on 13 criteria, including systems integration, safety engineering, chemistry performance, geographic reach, manufacturing and product performance, pricing, and overall corporate financial health. Using Navigant Research’s proprietary Leaderboard methodology, vendors are profiled, rated, and ranked with the goal of providing industry participants with an objective assessment of these companies’ relative strengths and weaknesses in the global electric vehicle battery market. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.About Navigant Research Navigant Research, the dedicated research arm of Navigant, provides market research and benchmarking services for rapidly changing and often highly regulated industries. In the energy sector, Navigant Research focuses on in-depth analysis and reporting about global clean technology markets. The team’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Utilities, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. Additional information about Navigant Research can be found at www.navigantresearch.com. About Navigant Navigant (NYSE: NCI) is a specialized, global expert services firm dedicated to assisting clients in creating and protecting value in the face of critical business risks and opportunities. Through senior level engagement with clients, Navigant professionals combine technical expertise in Disputes and Investigations, Economics, Financial Advisory and Management Consulting, with business pragmatism in the highly regulated Construction, Energy, Financial Services and Healthcare industries to support clients in addressing their most critical business needs. More information about Navigant can be found at www.navigant.com. * The information contained in this press release concerning the report, “Navigant Research Leaderboard Report: Lithium Ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles ,” is a summary and reflects Navigant Research’s current expectations based on market data and trend analysis. Market predictions and expectations are inherently uncertain and actual results may differ materially from those contained in this press release or the report. Please refer to the full report for a complete understanding of the assumptions underlying the report’s conclusions and the methodologies used to create the report. Neither Navigant Research nor Navigant undertakes any obligation to update any of the information contained in this press release or the report.