The electric vehicle revolution is guided in large part by the automakers, but every discussion about electric vehicle adoption rates and growth these days quickly finds its way to one topic — batteries. More specifically, there’s a continual concern that battery production won’t be able to keep up with consumer demand for EVs.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at the current world leaders in EV battery production.
According to Yonhap News Agency in South Korea, new data from SNE Research show that the top three battery producers in the world are CATL, LG Energy Solution (a fresh spinoff of LG Chem), and Panasonic. These have been the three largest EV battery producers for a while, but there’s been some quick reorganization at the top.
LG Chem was #1, Panasonic was #2, and CATL was #3 earlier this year — according to Adamas Intelligence. By the end of November — according to SNE Research — it had risen to #1. (Note, however, that these are different data sources and they track things differently — I’ll come back to that further down.)
According to the latest report from SNE Research for the first 11 months of 2020, this is how the top three broke down:
Gobbling up 66% of the market, there isn’t a great deal of market share left for EV battery producers not on the podium. In 4th and 5th are South Korean companies Samsung SDI and SK Innovation, respectively, which combined have 11.3% market share.
Notably, whereas Adamas Intelligence showed CATL in second place through 2019, well below #1 Panasonic, SNE Research has a different reading of past data. “China’s CATL maintained its No. 1 position for three consecutive years from 2017 to 2019 based on the solid Chinese battery market. As of 2019, CATL stood first (27.9 percent), Panasonic second (24.1 percent), and LG Chem third (10.5 percent).
“Since then, LG Chem had rapidly increased its market share. It ranked first in annual cumulative battery use in March 2020 and has maintained its top position until August.”
It’s not clear why there’s a strong divergence between Adamas Intelligence and SNE Research.
For more background/news on any of these companies, see our archives for CATL, LG Chem, Panasonic, Samsung SDI, and/or SK Innovation. You don’t get to the top 3, or the top 5, without making some big news along the way.