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Updated Roland Berger Li-ion study forecasts auto Li-ion battery market of more than US$9B by 2015; massive overcapacity and market consolidation

Roland Berger forecasts for LiB market size by vehicle class (left) and region (right). High and low growth scenarios are shown. Source: Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. Click to enlarge.

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants has updated its global Li-ion automotive battery study (earlier post). In light of recently presented or announced vehicle models with electric, hybrid or plug-in-hybrid drives (xEV), Roland Berger experts expect the global LiB market to grow from US$1.5 billion to US$9-10 billion by 2015, despite scaled-back forecasts for previously announced models. Further growth to more than US$50 billion is forecast in the 2020 high growth scenario.

This growth will, however, be accompanied by massive overcapacity, the consultancy notes—the resulting pricing pressures are already affecting orders for 2015. Market consolidation therefore looks certain. Five frontrunners—AESC, LG Chem, Panasonic/Sanyo, A123 Systems and SB LiMotive—will control almost 70% of the market by 2015.

“The first companies are already facing insolvency. Consolidation in the industry is going to happen. Large companies like JCI, who are not in the limelight yet, will play a more important role. Smaller players, on the other hand, will disappear. We also expect that cell manufacturers will supply directly to the OEMs.”
—Wolfgang Bernhart, Partner and co-author

The study by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants examines the market for lithium-ion batteries in cars, light and heavy commercial vehicles as well as buses with hybrid and electric drive systems.

The analysts at Roland Berger estimate that the light vehicle segment (cars and light commercial vehicles) will account for more than 85% of the total market for Li-ion battery systems in 2015. By then, there will probably be in excess of 4 million vehicles with electric, hybrid or plug-in-hybrid drive systems (xEVs) coming off production lines each year.

The report also finds that the truck market will be driven by electrification of class 3 and class 4 pickup and delivery trucks, and that China will account for more than 80% of the bus market value.

We still expect the global market for Li-ion batteries to reach US$9 billion by 2015. Although forecasts for many existing programs have been downgraded, there are new xEV models coming out in Asia, especially hybrids. Some OEMs have lowered their market forecasts for electric and hybrid vehicles, and some new automakers have already failed. But we still expect strong growth in the e-mobility battery market going forward.

—Thomas Wendt, co-author of the study

Even if Japanese and Korean carmakers opt for alternative drive technologies, the majority of hybrid vehicles produced will be equipped with nickel-metal-hybrid batteries by 2015. Although NiMH batteries will remain entrenched in certain segments through 2015, the Roland Berger analysts see continued penetration of the Li-ion technology.

We are starting to see some signs of Li-ion batteries being used in start-stop systems. Start-stop will not make up a large share of the LiB market by 2015, but we can expect to see micro-hybrids vehicles with Li-ion batteries coming onto the market over the next couple of years.

—Wolfgang Bernhart, Partner at Roland Berger and co-author

More than one hundred companies worldwide are currently active in the market for automotive Li-ion batteries. Production capacity in this market will probably be twice as large as demand in 2015, according to the consultancy.

Some of the battery producers have excessively grand expansion plans. The ramifications are already being felt and LiB suppliers have started to cut their forecasts. This is why we’ll see considerable market consolidation going forward. Pricing pressures will certainly increase.

—Thomas Wendt

For 2015, Roland Berger envisages OEMs facing prices in the €180-200/kWh (US$237-264/kWh) range for high-energy packs on large orders. This will results in the current margins of approx. 5 to 10% also dropping in the medium term, according to Bernhart.

In the course of this consolidation, five top players will share most of the battery market in 2015. The frontrunners according to Roland Berger are: AESC (20%), LG Chem (15%), Panasonic/Sanyo (13%), A123 (11%) und SB LiMotive (9%). GS Yuasa follows in sixth place (6%), with Toshiba in 7th (3%).

These same players will dominate the light vehicle market in 2015 with fairly similar percentage shares, according to the report. However, in trucks and buses, A123 is forecast to rank Nº1 with an expected 2015 market share of more than 30%.

From 2016/2017 one or two other companies will join the ranks of the top players, controlling 80-90% of the market. This development will be triggered by new vehicles coming onto the market and by the use of new material composites that promise higher energy densities at the same price.

Problems are arising above all for the small suppliers, the combined share of the global market of which will only amount to 2% in 2015.

There is also growing competition from China in the battery market. By 2015, Chinese manufacturers will control about 8% of the world market. And China itself could emerge as the biggest market for e-mobility by 2020. For international battery producers, this trend presents both an opportunity and a challenge.

Battery manufacturers must best-position themselves on the Chinese market, too, if they want to secure long-term success.

—Thomas Wendt




While I don't disagree that there will be overcapacity (mostly driven probably as a plan by the car companies), the relative rankings they assign as possible leaders doesn't really follow either a technology approach or a business approach. A123 has pretty good tech, but may be somewhat weak finacially. if there is overcapacity they would be an easy take over in economic struggle. Business wise, they don't include Saft or JCI, who because of their diverse product portfolio could easily ride out a consolidation squeeze. In my opinion none has anything more than minor differentiators with regard to the technology. There are several possible real differentiators that may become commercial soon, and by 2015 that may play more into who gets the market. Another factor, that could affect auto market li ion companies is who, in this time of overcapacity, can find alternative markets to take up the excess? Grid projects, consumer products, power tools. I really like my Li ion line trimmer.


"More than one hundred companies worldwide are currently active in the market for automotive Li-ion batteries. Production capacity in this market will probably be twice as large as demand in 2015..."

There is the main point of the article. Those other companies without business diversity should get into grid projects. However, many of those projects are counting on used vehicle battery packs, which gives us a bit of a dead locked dependency.


No utility will ever use used batteries for grid stabilization purposes.. they want the stuff to last for a long time with few headaches and new batteries are not that expensive.

Then again, the new vast supplies of NG means lots and lots of gas powered electricity peaking plants.


"Even if Japanese and Korean carmakers opt for alternative drive technologies, the majority of hybrid vehicles produced will be equipped with nickel-metal-hybrid batteries by 2015. Although NiMH batteries will remain entrenched in certain segments through 2015."

I thought the NiMh large capacity format was restricted - hence the move by EV makers Nissan Tesla Volt to LiIon. Guess they refer to small format for the older Prius.


As soon as I created the rapid charging columns in service stations the bottleneck becomes another.

Let’s compare the refilling of gasoline cars. If 20 minutes is the time for refilling 10 cars, I should have 10 fast charging columns of 150 KW , i.e. an electric power of 1,5 MW.
If I produce electricity in the service station, that's a problem. I can’t use fossil fuel, that’s a non-sense. Renewable power plants could be distant.

Therefore I have to redo the electric lines to transport large amounts of electricity.
Together with an adequate number of rapid charging points must be quickly created the smart grid.

In the meantime great range batteries (at sustainable price) allows you to bypass the problem of absence of rapid charging points.


@ Engineer-Poet
Storing large quantities of energy in batteries is expensive and inefficient. How much is the loss in a discharge-charge cycle? 20 %? For how many cicles? The electrical energy is precious..
The market will behave accordingly


@ Anne @Zhukova
Building charging stations quickly and connect them to the electrical network is certainly not a technical problem.

It ‘s a problem of money, and of large investments, and need some years to realize them.
In the time we are making the network the power density of batteries improves (20-30% per year).

You reach a point of meeting.
That could be (for example) 30% of the cars that needs to fast charge. The rest of the car that runs every day less than battery's range could recharge the battery at home, by night.
So I need a 30% less rapid charging points (and their electrical links) and I'm all about saving 30% of the money
If you invest more money in research powerful and cheap batteries will arrive before and we are in need of a smaller number of fast charging columns and therefore we have great savings on the network.
For example, imagine if the lithium-air batteries arrive between five , instead of ten years. I could certainly halve the cost of the network. Savings would be huge.

Other advantage: a production of energy widespread in the territory is more easy with renewable energy sources, many people could produce energy themselves.

Those thing are happening. We can see an increasing number of actors and money in the research.

The improvements that were occurring in a time of ten years now occur in three years. Expect some nice surprises

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