An increasing number of automakers are working on electric vehicle (EV) batteries on their own. However, such batteries require a lot of time and investment and cannot be easily developed and, as such, experts say that some of their efforts will be unsuccessful.
Tesla recently acquired Hibar Systems, which is headquartered in Ontario, Canada and produces lithium-ion battery manufacturing equipment. Hibar Systems is currently working on high-speed lithium-ion battery manufacturing systems. The acquisition implies Tesla’s intention to produce EV batteries on its own instead of being supplied with those of Panasonic and LG Chem.
Volkswagen, in the meantime, recently announced that it would establish a joint venture with Northvolt and invest 900 million euros to purchase 20 percent of the shares of the Swedish company. Germany and France organized their first EV battery consortium and their second consortium, which is being discussed now, is expected to be led by German automakers such as BMW.
This trend is based on a prediction that the demand is about to exceed the supply in the global EV battery market with European countries and many others promoting the use of green cars such as EVs.
According to market research firm SNE Research, this year’s global demand and supply are respectively estimated at 190 GWh and 326 GWh but the global demand is expected to increase to 458 GWh in 2021 and reach 916 GWh in 2023 to exceed the supply by 140 GWh.
Under the circumstances, battery manufacturers are keeping a close watch. This is because a future surge in demand can be weakened although it will take at least five years for automakers to become capable of producing EV batteries on their own. In fact, some automakers failed to do so in the past. For instance, Nissan announced last year that it would concentrate on the production of EVs instead of developing EV batteries. Even Tesla, which uses cylindrical batteries characterized by a relatively low technical barrier, is going through some EV supply setbacks due to a low battery production yield.