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Voltaiq survey on battery industry finds analytical challenges and resource constraints as major obstacles to product development

Voltaiq, a developer of advanced battery analytics solutions, has released, in partnership with Total Battery Consulting, an industry survey examining many of the challenges and opportunities battery manufacturers, suppliers and integrators currently face.

The global battery industry is facing unprecedented growth and change. Over the next decade, as we continue the shift to an electric economy, we will see an increase in demand and production for lithium-ion battery technologies. Performance, capability, and reliability of batteries are paramount to industry growth, but there are significant challenges standing in the way. This survey sheds light on some of these challenges, and we hope it will kickstart a conversation on how to best address them to ensure the industry remains on a path to keep up with demand.

—Tal Sholklapper, CEO of Voltaiq

Conducted in Q1 2019, the survey polled professionals from a broad spectrum of industry segments, including battery cell producers, battery pack and component developers, academic and national labs, and companies involved in transportation, consumer electronics, and energy storage. While more than half of the respondents were located in North America, other regions, including Europe and Japan, were also represented.

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Nearly 35% of respondents said that time to market was their biggest concern about their latest battery project. (Battery reliability was number two at 19%.) This survey sheds light on what might be hindering time to market. When asked to note the biggest bottlenecks in their workflow, respondents’ answers fell into three main themes:

  • Scarcity of expertise and resources. Nearly 40% of respondents cited a shortage of battery engineers as a constraint in their development work. An even greater proportion—more than 44% of respondents—noted that there were insufficient resources for the number of battery projects underway.

  • Time-consuming evaluations. More than a quarter of respondents—nearly 27%—listed the amount of time required to estimate battery life as a key bottleneck. Nearly the same number—just over 25%—said there were too many battery vendors to evaluate, while more than 20% said there were too many battery materials to evaluate.

  • Data challenges. Survey participants also highlighted their difficulties working with battery data. More than 22% cited the challenge presented by data silos: information they needed was available but not readily available to their team. Another 17% noted problems with data quality: often the required data was messy, inconsistent, or hard to use.

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Looking at data issues specifically, the survey found several key trouble spots:

  • Data management is a time sink. Nearly a third of respondents spend 1 to 5 hours per week looking for and preparing data before it analyzed. And engineers and scientists are not the only ones devoting sizeable chunks of their time to data. The survey revealed that two thirds of managers and directors are working directly with battery data—with a full third devoting more than six hours a week to that work.

  • Data volume is expected to grow. Most respondents—approximately 68%—expect the volume of battery data to at least double in the next five years. Indeed, more than a third believe it will grow by 5x or more in that time period (with nearly 5% expecting it to increase more than 100 times over).

  • The challenges of extracting insights and leveraging them to spark fast-paced but astute decision-making are only going to increase. Not only will data volumes grow, but so too will the complexity of the requisite analytics. For those who responded that they work with battery data, more than 40% of respondents anticipate a doubling or more of analytical effort over the next five years. Nearly 24% expect at least a 5x increase.

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