CATL of China took the lead in the global EV battery market this year (January to May) with a 31.2% share. This is close to the combined market share of the three K-battery companies (LG Energy Solution, Samsung SDI, and SK Innovation) (33.5%). Accordingly, it is pointed out that it is urgent to prepare countermeasures such as improvement of K-battery technology and diversification of customers in order to capture China.
According to SNE Research, a market research company on the 30th, the total battery capacity of electric vehicles (including PHEV and HEV) registered in each country in May is 21.1 GWh (gigawatt hour). As a result, the accumulated battery capacity from the beginning of this year to May was 88.4 GWh, 2.6 times higher than the same period last year. The total battery capacity of SNE Research is an estimate based on electric vehicles actually sold in the market during this period. The 2.6-fold increase in battery usage means that the number of EVs sold also increased. CATL supplied 6.1GWh of batteries last month alone. Considering that 50-70 kWh (kilowatt hour) of batteries are used per electric vehicle, it is about 120,000 units. According to EV Volumes, 470,000 electric vehicles were sold worldwide last month. One in four electric vehicles in the world is equipped with batteries from CATL.
The growth of Chinese batteries is in line with the growth of the Chinese electric vehicle market. An official from SNE Research said, “Chinese companies led the growth of electric vehicles led by CATL and BYD. In fact, five Chinese companies were included in the top 10 battery makers. The combined market share of the five companies is 44.7%.
CATL’s sprint to No. 1 is the expected result. Recently, CATL is expanding its supply not only to domestic manufacturers but also to European, American and Korean automakers based on its huge volume. Customers of CATL include Tesla, Volkswagen, Renault, Stellantis, GM, Hyundai, Ford, BMW, Daimler, and Toyota. In addition, starting with a battery joint venture (JV) with China’s Geely, it is pursuing a JV with a number of European car brands. In particular, CATL is evaluated to have the same technology and quality as Korea, as well as price competitiveness. In terms of battery form factor (shape), it has variety such as pouch and square shape. In terms of characteristics that determine performance, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and ternary systems (nickel, cobalt, manganese) are mass-produced. The lack of a cylindrical battery adopted by Tesla is considered a disadvantage, but there are several types of cell-to-pack (CTP, a method of inserting a cell into a pack without a module) and a ‘self-to-car’ (CTC, a method of inserting a cell directly into the chassis without a module or pack). This was complemented by technological innovation. Also, there have been no noticeable battery fire accidents so far.
LG Energy Solutions and Panasonic are following CATL. Although LG made a save, Panasonic’s downward trend is clear. In the battery three kingdoms of Korea, China, and Japan, Japan is increasingly being pushed back. SNE Research said, “The three Korean battery companies that stood out last year in the Corona 19 situation are somewhat shrunken by the Chinese offensive this year.” “The more Chinese companies accelerate into Europe, the more difficult the three Korean companies will face.” . He also pointed out that “the three Korean battery companies should actively pursue major tasks such as cultivating infrastructure competitiveness and checking growth engines.”
By Kim Young-joo, staff reporter [email protected]