BOSTON, Sept. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- It is certain that lithium batteries will become dominant over the coming decade and that their chemistry will change in pursuit of the reduction of their cost and flammability and to obtain greater energy density. Uniquely, IDTechEx forecasts the biggest application — electric vehicles — in 101 categories, but any forecast has assumptions that matter a great deal.
In the IDTechEx report, "Lithium-Ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles 2020-2030," IDTechEx forecasts 10 years, assuming, not predicting, there are no global recessions and no shortages. However, although it ducks the fool's errand of forecasting recessions, it warns that lithium-ion battery shortages can be caused by shortages of lithium, cobalt and nickel, despite the current glut. This is because EV demand is rising so fast, with pure electric vehicles particularly important, as they take over 80% of the EV battery demand.
Cars will be the largest users in market value, followed by trucks/buses, which are essentially one business leading the trend of bigger batteries in the mix. The IDTechEx report "Electric Vehicles in Construction, Agriculture and Mining 2019-2029" analyzes another rapidly emerging user of large batteries, some around the 1MWh level, also seen in some ships and manned electric aircraft. Other IDTechEx reports cover marine and airborne EVs specifically.
For lithium batteries, those metal shortages are a maybe, but a shortage of production capacity is more likely, despite new facilities being committed all the time. Call that a probably.
The IDTechEx report, "Solid-State and Polymer Batteries 2019-2029: Technology, Patents, Forecasts" describes something certain, which is that reduced flammability and greater energy density will be seen from an increasing minority of lithium batteries being of those morphologies, particularly after 2025. Some even avoid worrisome nickel and cobalt. Many will be made by the adaptation of existing battery factories, so they are not an escape route from any shortage of facilities.
Dr. Peter Harrop, Chairman of IDTechEx advises:
"Around 18% of the $3 trillion level EV market in 2030 would be lithium batteries in an unconstrained scenario. The improved performance and cost from solid-state and polymer batteries can only boost demand. The incumbent manufacturers are rapidly increasing the output of lithium-ion batteries in the meantime. Impressive newcomers to battery cell making, such as Tesla and Dyson, are investing heavily to launch next-generation cells of their own technology for their own EVs. The Toyota-Panasonic advanced battery joint venture is particularly formidable."
What with low-silicon and then high-silicon anodes and other changes, some manufacturers may be cutting corners in the rollout, leading to future recalls of bad products. That will not help output. So there we have it. The lithium battery is an excellent business to be in, but all is not plain sailing.
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