Despite this, the majority of capacity in 2020 is both located in China and owned by Chinese companies. Much of this comes from lesser known Chinese companies offering LCO and LFP batteries for consumer electronics and e-bike applications.
These batteries are rarely qualified for electric cars, trucks or buses. But electric vehicles, where performance requirements are most demanding, already make up the majority of demand.
Though total Li-ion production capacity outweighed demand in 2019, IDTechEx estimate that the largest manufacturers, including the likes of LG Chem, Panasonic, Samsung and CATL (excluding Tesla and BYD), did not have the combined production capacity to meet Li-ion demand from electric vehicles.
This provides some perspective on the various reports of auto-manufacturers struggling with battery supply. In the short-term, there may continue to be a deficit of Li-ion batteries suitable for electric vehicles.
However, with considerable investment into gigafactories, which can take <2 years to build and come online, cell production is unlikely to stifle electric vehicle growth past 2021/22.
While cell production capacity is unlikely to be responsible for supply constraints, raw materials are a different question. Bringing a new mine online can take 5-10 years but the relatively low Li, Co and Ni spot prices currently being seen may not incentivise the necessary investment, posing valid questions as to whether sufficient investment is taking place to meet mid-long term battery demand.
Read more about battery metals
A new report from market intelligence firm, IDTechEx, provides a comprehensive overview of the Li-ion market with commentary and analysis on the bottlenecks that may hinder it.
The report evaluates various aspects of the Li-ion market and technology and includes cell cost analyses, player strategies, technology developments and forecasts of Li-ion demand.
For a full analysis on markets, players, raw materials, technology developments and gigafactories from IDTechEx click here.
For the full portfolio of energy storage research including the report click here.