Korean and Japanese secondary battery manufacturers are moving their production bases abroad.
According to industry sources, Samsung SDI is planning to build a manufacturing plant in Hefei in Anhui Province, China. The facilities to produce rechargeable batteries for use in energy storage systems (ESS) are scheduled to be put into operation in the latter half of next year. The plant is the fourth overseas plant of Samsung SDI, following those in Tianjin, Xian and Seremban, Malaysia.
LG Chem is setting up an electric vehicle (EV) battery production plant in the Nanjing Economic and Technological Development Zone. The manufacturing is scheduled to be started in the second half of 2015, too. It supplies battery cells, modules and packs for at least 100,000 EVs a year.
These companies are expecting that the large secondary battery market covering EV batteries and ESS will show explosive growth in the near future. The EV battery market is expected to grow from 6 GWh to 100 GWh between this year and 2020, and the ESS market is estimated to expand from 1.5 GWh to 21 GWh during the same period.
“The ratio of large rechargeable batteries will surpass that of smaller ones in the secondary battery market,” said a representative of market research firm SNE Research, adding, “Although Korean manufacturers are dominating the small battery market, they might be caught up with by Panasonic and Sony at any time.”
Panasonic, in the meantime, recently announced that it will establish a rechargeable battery manufacturing plant in the United States at an investment of over 5 trillion won (US$4.6 billion). The facilities, called Giga Factory, are to be run with Tesla. Sony has canceled its plan to dispose of its battery business unit, and is now expected to expand its Suzhou facilities.