A new report by Pike Research has found that among advanced-tech vehicle battery suppliers, Johnson Controls and LG Chem are the two companies most likely to take advantage of changes happening in the industry.
Over the past decade, we’ve seen battery technology develop by leaps and bounds for hybrid and electric vehicles, with lithium-ion chemistries largely considered superior and having displaced nickel-metal hydride in many instances.
Additionally, as the battery industry matures, changes are also taking place with regards to who manufactures them and where. Traditionally, Japanese and Korean companies have led the way, branching into EV applications from consumer batteries, which originally established them in the marketplace.
However, competition is growing, with newer companies in China and North America making inroads, especially in their own domestic markets.
Although forecasts are expected to show Japanese and Korean companies maintaining their lead in battery cell manufacturing, Pike Research director John Gartner said, “the market will likely see volatility during 2012 as some supplier agreements change and some smaller companies will likely fail or be acquired due to an inability to reach production.”
From a supplier to vehicle manufacturer perspective, that means South Korean LG Chem – which is establishing also U.S. operations, ranked highest by Pike, and with a diversified international customer base – should be in good position to maintain its EV battery market share in 2012.
Johnson Controls, which was ranked second in the report, is also expected to do well; the company currently supplies hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicle batteries for vehicles sold in all three of the world’s major hybrid vehicle markets, namely North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.
According to Pike, Johnson Controls’ diversified product portfolio, as well as its development in energy storage technology, puts it in a solid position as an EV battery supplier.
Pike observed however that Johnson Controls still needs to work on translating its automotive relationships into greater market share, in order to be fully recognized as a leader in the field.