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Forecast: Lithium-ion Automotive Market Could Reach $1.6B by 2015; Strong HEVs to Dominate

13 May 2008

The market for Li-ion automotive batteries will be dominated by full hybrid applications in 2015, according to Dr. Anderman. Click to enlarge.

Dr. Menahem Anderman, the president of Advanced Automotive Batteries, projects that the automotive lithium-ion market could reach $1.6 billion in 2015, up almost five-fold from $337M in 2012, propelled largely by a dramatic expansion in the use of Li-ion batteries in strong (or full) hybrid applications. Anderman bases his forecasts on his work with automotive OEMs, battery manufacturers and materials suppliers.

According to the forecast, strong hybrid applications will account for 78% of the market in 2015, reaching $1.26 billion—more than six times the 2012 figures of $196 million, which represents 58% of that projected market. Dr. Anderman released his projections publicly during a presentation of his analysis of the value proposition for automotive Li-ion batteries at the Advanced Automotive Battery & Ultracapacitor Conference (AABC) 2008, running in Tampa, Florida this week.

The opportunity is in the high-volume strong hybrids. We could have more than $1 billion by 2015, assuming no major safety incident with Lithium-ion.

—Dr. Menahem Anderman

Lithium-ion batteries could also see strong growth in the upper end of the micro-hybrid market (stop-start with regenerative braking) and in mild hybrid applications, Anderman said. For micro hybrid applications, Li-ion faces competition from VRLA (lead-acid) batteries and VRLA-Ultracapacitor systems. Toyota, he noted has the most data on the life and performance data on a Li-ion pack for such an application, via the Toyota Intelligent Idling Stop System in the Vitz.

For mild hybrids such as Honda hybrids, the size and weight of Li-ion is attractive compared to NiMH, and the cost per pack can be similar. The main issue here is that impedance rise must be manageable, Anderman said, and life and safety achieved in a single design.

Suppressing impedance rise over life is necessary to enable OEMs to take advantage of the higher power and energy density of NiMH by spec’ing lower Wh batteries into applications. Cost parity with NiMH per kWh can be achieved at similar production volumes if manufacturing yields are proven. Cost parity with NiMH per kW will be reached earlier, he said, so that for applications which are kW driven, Li-ion will become cost-competitive sooner.

Considering the rate of progress of Li-ion technology, lower cost per kWh enabled by lower cost material is likely in the longer term, provided the materials meet the life requirements. Future nickel cost—the key material cost driver for NiMH—is also an unknown factor.

Anderman is not bullish on the prospects of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), at least based on the economics of it. Retrofitting an existing platform is not really attractive, based on annual fuel cost saving and the loss of cargo space, and designing new platforms for plug-ins is “difficult to justify considering the questionable value proposition and the financial risks involved.” His assessment is that plug-ins with a 10-mile electric range using a blended strategy make the most financial sense, even with gasoline prices reaching $8/gallon.

If we just look at NPV [net present value], this [PHEV 10B] is where we should stay. This is just a financial analysis.

—Dr. Menahem Anderman

Accordingly, Anderman’s projections for PHEVs are rather low: 5,000 PHEV 10B units in 2012, rising to 10,000 units in 2015; and 200 PHEV 40s (all electric) in 2012 rising to 1,000 in 2015.

May 13, 2008 in Batteries, Electric (Battery), Hybrids, Market Background, Plug-ins | Permalink | Comments (39) | TrackBack (1)


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The volumes of this forecast are way too low. Nissan is supposed to do enough batteries for 10000 electric cars in 2009 and 60000 by 2012.

And what about the Volt and the Saturn Vue. GM is not doing them to sell hundreds by 2012. And Fisker, Tesla, Think and BYD and 10 others soon to come EVs and PHEVs.

It would be more fruitful if we could get a credible price estimate per kWh. The given $700 per kWh is probably too high and much higher than BYD has suggested. I will wait and see the launch price for BYDs EVs and PHEVs presumably later this year to judge how low they can go.

This link suggests that you can get the batteries in mind for less than $700 per kWh in retail. They come without BMS though and they are not packed.

Battery powered systems:

PS If you know of others that sell at these low prices I would like to know.

very pessimistic, it will be much higher than this.. and if the battery prices drop then watch out..

I notice this forecast is based on today's batteries, at today's prices, with not even a slight improvement expected in either price or quality.

My own expectation is that the next 8 years will see battery cost drop by at least half per kWh, if not much more. Also expect a substantial improvement in size and weight. It is reasonable to predict a production capacity doubling every two years.

Look for full Bev's to become mass produced soon. Israel is making the first full infrastructure to support them, and other countries will need to follow this lead.

Batteries will stay hihj in price because they will still sell all they make... wich wont be nearly as many as many suggest.

Alot of the market is full of very sub par batteries barelt useable for cars and as before most of the battery makers will be broke in 10 years.

Thats why all the car makers are following so many other paths as well. And as batteries are NOT expected to get much better AND smaller AND cheaper AND durable for a ong time after the initial spat of increases....

We can expect commercial trucks and cars to eat the lions share till 2020 and beyond with most of the rest in lux cars and trucks and yes a few volt like lines. But most lith batteries sold even 5 years from now will be low density low power compact packs for MILD hybrids.

He did indicate that his estimates were based on BAU. As a result, his estimates don't include the emotional result of oil supply shortfalls that the IEA is predicting by 2012. When local gas stations run dry once or twice you'll see people flock to electrics regardless of the prices.

You guys are much too optimistic on how fast the market and PHEV and EV can move, transition in car industry has always and will always be SLOW. Battery industry is also a notoriously slow moving one, ramp up of Lithium production (very unsufficient to feed the car industry at the moment) will take time. I think the assumption of this study are quite cedible. If you look today at tye situation on HEV 10 years after their introduction only one car marker is really successful (and with one model only) in 2015 the PEHV will be tiny winie (the first model to hit te road will be in 2011 and they will not sell much beecause they will loose huge amount of money on it)

Don't get me wrong I love PHEV i think they are part of the solution, but unfortunately I know that I won't be able to buy one before 10 years at least.

Henrik, Herm & John:

I fully agree with you.

If Dr Anderman is correct, about 75% of all battery packs in 2012 and 2015 will be used by Toyota's improved Hybrids. That would be too good to be true (for Toyota next generation hybrids)

Could it be that Dr. Anderman did not fully considered that many more major players are entering the BEVs and advanced batteries field; that China and India will be mass producing much lower cost lithium packs (below $300/Kwh in (2007 USD) for their very low cost BEVs by 2010/11 etc etc.

Dr. Anderman is too pessimistic and may have to re-write his predictions within a year or two.

I agree with treehugger. The auto industry is slow. Dr. Anderman is probably in a position to get some pretty good data on the industry. It is important to realize that the automotive development cycle takes a LONG time, planning is already happening for the 2012 models, and it won't be long before 2015 models will be included. Rather than being disappointed by the "pessimism" of this report, I think we should be encouraged by the massive growth rate predicted between 2012 and 2015. The entire battery value chain will need to be revamped for automotive grade lithium-ion in huge quantities. This goes all the way back to developing the lithium mining effort in S. America. A new full-scale battery plant generally costs upwards of $100M.

Finally, regarding pricing per kWh, demand is going to drive up the cost just as fast if not faster than technology can bring it down for the next few years. We can learn this lesson from the solar PV industry. Full BEV's are not cost competitive (in our current regulatory system) with ICE in almost every application.

In the meantime, I'm going to take the train and ride my bike more and drive less.

treehugger & Ben:

Let's not forget that very large Asian countries (and their neighbours) will soon be driving the car market, much more than North America.

Those countries (and many others) don't have access to enough liquid fossil fuel nor enough sustainable bio & agrofuel. Electrification of their vehicles will become a high priority and a national neccessity.

Secondly, those very large countries will have easy access to the technologies involved and will locally produce all the batteries and basic BEVs they need and more, at a fraction of the NA cost. Don't forget that yearly electrified vehicles sales (2, 3 & 4 wheels) will reach 35 millions is China in 2008. India will follow shortly with basic BEVs production in very high volumes.

I seriously think that Dr. Anderman did not consider many important factors, specially rapid development in China and India and the progressive liquid fuel world shortage.
Widespread electrification of vehicles of all shapes and sizes may be much faster than he thinks, specially outside North America.

This report appears heavily weighted against the 16KWh battery segment that represents the first non-ICE dependent HEVs. His table shows essentially zero growth for this segment between 2012 - 2015 which is puzzling. With the introduction of Mitsubishi's iMiEV series, Chevy's Volt, VUE, Th!nk, Nissan, Tesla, BYD and Indian offerings - the all-EV 40+ mile range is clearly scaring the market. This report dwells on the large growth of 1.4kWh packs for hybrids with no plug in option.

I would suggest that the impact of all-EV range vehicles in the midst of crippling fuel cost - will have an enormous impact. When neighbors watch a vehicle commute back and forth to work and errands daily without EVER having to stop at a $6.00/gal fuel pump - they will march to BEV dealerships.

Dr. Anderman appears to be counseling ICE manufacturers that they have little to worry from all electric vehicles. It is the kind of news that executives crave when they choose the safe path. The kind of news that all but Toyota listened to ten years ago when it began building the Prius.

Interesting article. I guess I have a few naive points to make.

$8 per gallon gasoline is very expensive. That would be devastating to the U.S. He doesn't say when PHEVs would make sense though (in terms of gas price) just that at even $8 per gallon, PHEV-10B is the best option (I could believe that.)

If some kind of PHEV technology is not developed, it would seem that more vehicles would just bite into oil demand more, raising prices until PHEVs are needed. So it would seem to be in the automakers' interest to build and field these vehicles, at least at a marginal level, keep the technology warm. Better than having to sell a lot full of SUVs.

He also spends a lot time talking about the price crossover of Lithium ions versus NiMH. But who cares, really? We all want batteries to get cheaper, that's a given, regardless of the technology. NiMH are not great, but most agree that are adequate for the task such as PHEVs, if not BEVs. And they certainly have been proven with respect to longevity.

So, in a really subtle way, Dr. Anderman seems to be dismissing the development of the electric-assist of automotive power trains. Despite the obvious financial success of the Prius. I don't really get it.

Production of Li-Ion batteries lends itself to automated mass production.

The typical Li-Ion battery is a film composite produced on sheets, cemented together, rolled and then encapsulated. This is not so different than lots of other film making processes or even paper publishing.

Consequently, the automation equipment either already exists to create cemented/laminated composite films, or can be adapted for this application, very easily. This is an unrecognized important consideration.

A single automated plant would produce several magnitudes more square meters of battery "film" with a concomitant tremendous drop in price.

Currently the films are largely manually created and thus expensive to manufacture.

By comparison, consider the problems with designing 6 and 8 speed transmissions as replacements fro 4 speed automatics produced on cusrtomized tranfer machinery. It must be designed, then hundreds of components must be designed, equipment to machine them designed and then purchased and installed, and then find automated assembly methods for the new componentry.

The component materials are not in short supply intrinsically, and supply of Lithium for example, will easily rise to meet demand.

In short this is a study based on already obsolescent pay-back calculation, and does not address the issues of manufacturability, or raw component supply. In short, its not even wrong, merely totally irrelevant.

Anderman is an odd duck. He's very involved in the industry, doing studies and running conferences, yet he regularly comes up with these off-the-wall forecasts. His EV/PHEV battery projections are dwarfed by the Nissan/NEC JV alone, and there are half a dozen others with similar plans (A123, Toyota/PEVE, Mitsubishi/Yuasa, LG Chem, BYD, Saft/JCI).

Similarly, Anderman forecasts 200 PHEV-40s in 2012 and 1000 in 2015. Meanwhile GM alone says they'll ship 10,000 Volts/year starting in 2010 and quickly ramp to 60-100,000/year. Toyota will do something less lame than the current "double-battery" PHEV-7 experiments and there's BYD and others. Anderman's numbers are just bizarre and they make it hard to take anything he says seriously.

Stan!! ... you had a lucid moment. ;)

Dr. Anderman appears to be counseling ICE manufacturers that they have little to worry from all electric vehicles.
Menahem Anderman appears to be to electric vehicles what Daniel Yergin is to oil:  a credentialed expert acting as a paid mouthpiece for certain interests who want justification for continuing Business As Usual.

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see them getting money from the same people.

For those who think that Li-battery will sell like hot cakes by 2015 I would encourage them to look at the situation on the solar cell market, double digit growth but still less (much less) than 1% electricity produce by solar, growth is constraint by avaibility of Si (much more abundant than Lithium). The same problem will happen with Li-battery, the production of Li won't be able to sustain a double digit growin demand, even if the Li is relatively abundant, Li won't come out from earth by himself, discovery and mining and very long lead cycle time like it or not.

I also hope that I could by a plug-in car soon for less than 30 K, but I hinnestly don't count on it before 2015 at best. GM will be loosing 10K per car on the volt so they will not ramp up the production beyong 10K / year

A lot of new solar-grade silicon capacity is coming on line, and IIRC both the Reaction Sciences Inc. and SRI International processes are coming to commercialization.  Silicon is 27.7% of Earth's crust (second most abundant element behind oxygen); about the only thing we could hope for is a battery based on silicon and carbon.

Maybe lithium and silicon will do for now?

We have been hearing for the 8 past years that the shortage of silicon will be solved next year but it hasn't happened yet, the problem is that the demand is growing fast so even with new production capacity coming the shortage stays.

The analogy between Si and Li is interesting by the way, Si was used for microelectronic industry, and now is used for energy industry, Li was used fo cell phone battery and we want to use it for auto industry, same type of change of scale so same problems ahead. The Li industry is not scaled for the auto industry and I think that the prediction of Anderman are fair

Comparison of regular silicon and polycrystalline silicon of incredible purity doped with rare Earth elements is like comparing coal with diamonds (both are carbon, but a bit of different varieties). Li used in batteries is just bulk chemical, sometimes in nanoparticles – nothing like polycrystalline silicon used for computer chips and PV panels.

What about PowerGenix? They're boasting 1/2 cost of Li-ion.

"Bypassing the expensive safety power control systems and manufacturing processes required for lithium-ion technologies, NiZn can be easily integrated into existing hybrid vehicle designs at about one-half the cost per watt-hour of a lithium-ion battery. Additionally, PowerGenix's NiZn chemistry has been specifically engineered to take advantage of the current alkaline battery supply chain and is able to be manufactured on existing NiCd and NiMH production lines."

Smaller, less cost. Similar to NiMH for production roll out eliminates large cost changes. It at least provides competition. They are unveiling the battery in a Toyota Prius at this weeks AABC-08 conference.

According to the PowerGenix website, they cite a lifecycle of 500 charges for their NiZn batteries. I don't think this is enough to be competitive in automotive applications.

All the best to PowerGenix, but they are certainly going against the grain of the trend. Does anyone know how much of their value chain they have to invent because there's no real nickel-zinc battery industry to speak of? I'm really interested if anyone can help me to understand the technology better.

TreeHugger, lithium supply is not a constraint in the near term. Lithium production is growing rapidly, devoting only 10% of current supply to auto results in battery quanitities a couple orders of magnitude higher than Dr. Anderman's estimates.


"Li won't come out from earth by himself, discovery and mining and very long lead cycle time like it or not."

Most of the recoverable lithium chloride globally is well known. 75% of these reserves are in South America, with production estimated at 150k tonnes in 2010 from only three salt lake deposits in the world:

● Nevada (Silver Peak or Clayton Lake)
● Chile (Salar de Atacama)
● Argentina (Salar de Hombre Muerto)

Bolivia has the world's largest resource estimated at 5-9M tonnes and recently completed a mining agreement.

The Andersson Rade study from Chalmers University estimates there is enough Li in the Earth's crust to power 12B vehicles with LiIon manganese based batteries. But this makes world transport dependent on Li resources and politics. So, we need diversity in battery chemistry as much as in the alternative fuel portfolio. ZnAir and the NaNiCl Zebra batteries can produce high energy density and lower costs (though charge cycles drop to 500+). Estimates of $100/kWh at 400Wh/kg for these alternatives appear realistic.

Clearly electrification of worldwide transport will require additional battery technologies, some mix of fuel cells and liquid biofuels in the near 20-50 year term. At least until the unveiling of quantum leap technology like the proverbial "zero point." We should however forge ahead with current transition from oil-based ICE to alt fuels/battery PHEVs.

10% of existing Lithium Carbonate production would be enough for 330,000 GM Volts.

Rade and Andersson did not say there was enough Li for 12 billion cars. If you read their paper, they were very circumspect, said there was a lot of uncertaintly and it could be as little as 200 milion. They say they can't be sure any of the assessed battery technologies (ie LiIon) could meet more than 10% of any future vehicle demand.

The Lithium market is 30% undersupplied today according to Admiralty Resources - growth of staggering percentages in demand for laptops etc from China and India, 50% plus.

And remember - only 20% of existing Lithium Carbonate production is used in batteries, 99.99% purity required. High cost. 10,000 Volts a yar might sound like a lot, but who can afford $40,000 and what about the other 16,990,000 US car buyers each year?

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