As electric vehicles are gradually introduced and promoted to the market, application of NiMH batteries and lithium batteries has been extended to the mobility field. Compared to lead-acid battery, NiMH battery has longer lifespan and better high-rate charge and discharge characteristics. Compared to lithium battery, NiMH battery is a more mature technology with more advantageous cost competitiveness. Also, NiMH batteries are currently the only proven technology, in practicality to work, and commercialized type of power battery. Hybrid electric cars are the pioneer of electric mobility.
However, lithium battery is potentially the future development direction for mobility application. It is light in weight, has larger energy capacity, and releases no pollutant. The merits of lithium battery have contributed largely to its wide application in consumer electronics and perhaps even in the EV field in the future. Sony, as an example, spotting the future opportunities in the EV market, recently announced its plan to seek strategic alliance with automakers and start producing lithium batteries for EVs by 2015.
Though the technology development of lithium batteries for EVs is rather amateurs, the lithium battery industry is embracing substaintial growth in other applications. EnergyTrend believes that the battery industry will benefit from growing shipments of NB tablets and smart phones. The market demand for lithium battery, especially polymer battery, is poised for moderate to strong growth in 2H11. In terms of global lithium battery industry, though the market size is large, China is lagging in technology development behind Japan and thus there is still room for growth. Japanese, Korean, Chinese makers account for the majority of battery cell and raw material production. As Chinese and Korean battery manufacturers advanced their technology development and production capability in recent years, Japanese makers’ market share gradually shrunk.
The rise of electric vehicles will be achieved through governmental policies that will focus on constraining traditional fossil vehicles, and encouraging use of electric vehicles (subsidies and tax refund). For example, In the next 10 years, Chinese government will invest more than 100 billion RMB in the research and development of the electric vehicle industry. According to EnergyTrend, the estimated new energy vehicles will reach 5% of new car purchases, approximately 500,000 units by 2012 and 1 million units by 2015 in China.