The fast-growing global electric vehicle (EV) battery market shifted into reverse temporarily in August. Despite the downturn, South Korea’s top three EV battery makers, LG Chem, Samsung SDI, and SK Innovation, continued to grow based on their technological prowess.
SNE Research, a Korean market search firm, said on Oct. 16 that EV battery shipments were down 10.0 percent on year in August this year, but all of the three Korean major battery makers posted an increase.
LG Chem held a market share of 12.6 percent owing to a 79.9 percent increase in sales, with its ranking going up one notch from last year’s fourth to third place. Samsung SDI at 6th place posted a 10.0 percent rise, with a market share of 4.4 percent. The company narrowed down the gap with the 5th runner merely to 0.1 percent.
SK Innovation, which was not on the list last year, grew by 8.1 percent from the same period a year earlier and recorded a 1.8 percent market share. With these performances, the three Korean makers’ combined market share rose to 18.8 percent from last year’s 11.4 percent.
However, other makers except China’s leading EV battery maker CATL mostly showed a poor performance. Panasonic, a supplier for Tesla and others, saw its market share shrink by as much as 22.5 percent from a year earlier, losing the first place to CATL. The new first runner CATL took a market share of 33.5 percent, with a 49.4 percent year-on-year increase in its shipments.
Other Chinese battery manufacturers experienced a sharply drop in sales. As for BYD, a Chinese supplier of electric cars as well as batteries, which came in third, showed a staggering 61.1 percent drop, with AESC and Guoxuan cutting down their production by 0.6 and 2.3 percent respectively.
Industry watchers say that Chinese makers took a direct hit from the Chinese government’s plan to phase out subsidies, while Panasonic was affected by sluggish EV sales in the United States and Tesla’s moves to diversify battery suppliers.
According to reports from Bloomberg and other foreign media outlets, Tesla, which has Panasonic as its exclusive supplier, has recently signed a battery supply deal with LG Chem for its new models for China.