A global battery war is starting in earnest as the US and Europe made a foray into the electric vehicle battery market which has been shared mainly by Korea, Japan and China.
According to industry sources and foreign news media, Northvolt, a new battery manufacturer, recently signed an agreement with a local government by investing about 4 billion euros to build a large battery plant for electric vehicles and energy storage systems (ESSs). The company is planning to start the construction of the plant in the second half of next year and produce 8GWh of batteries per year by 2020. Northvolt will increase its annual production capacity to 32GWh by 2023.
This exceeds the total annual production output of LG Chem and Samsung SDI. According to industry sources, LG Chem’s production capacity is estimated at 20GWh of electric car batteries per year. Samsung SDI is known to have an annual production capacity of 10GWh.
In Europe, Basf, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and others are expected to create an alliance and support 2.2 billion euros (about 3 trillion won) in nurturing battery makers. Tesla and Panasonic have said they will increase annual production of Giga Factory, a joint venture in Nevada, USA, by 35GWh annually next year.
As a result, it is highly likely that battery companies whose levels are as high as LG Chem and Samsung SDI battery makers will appear in the US and Europe after 2020. According to market researcher SNE Research, mostly Korean, Chinese and Japanese companies ranked high in shipments of batteries for electric vehicles for the first half of this year while Panasonic, LG Chem, and CATL came in first, second and third, respectively.