Chart: Global Shifts In EV Battery Chemistry (+ Electric Car Sales Grow 66%)



Published on September 30th, 2018 |
by Zachary Shahan

September 30th, 2018 by Zachary Shahan 

Our friends at EV Volumes — true EV data fiends — have released another report on electric car sales and trends. There are another of interesting findings, but the chart that jumped out to me the most was one about battery chemistry.

As you can see in the chart (below), NCA batteries grew strong as Tesla scaled up ~5 years ago, but since then, NMC batteries have seen faster growth. NMC batteries are used in most electric cars, while Tesla has continued to prioritize NCA thanks to certain performance and energy density benefits. LiFePo batteries also saw relatively strong growth in recent years, but it should have a weaker ending to the year due to changes in Chinese EV policy. It will be interesting to see what the second half of 2018 looks like.

“The chart [above] is derived from our battery shipment tracker by cell maker to OEM and shows how the light vehicle battery shipments developed by their cathode chemistry over time,” EV Volumes writes. “Following an experimental phase with a large variety of costly, low volume concepts, the appearance of the Nissan Leaf EV in 2011 led to the dominance of the LMO type (Lithium Manganese Oxide). NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) batteries went mostly into the GM Volt. The next phase was the fast expansion of Tesla with their large NCA (Nickel Cobalt Aluminium) batteries, developed with Panasonic. Starting 2015, fast growth in China generated more LFP share in the global shipments, mostly supplied by BYD. From mid June 2018, new requirements regarding e-range (>150 km) and specific battery capacity (>105 Wh/kg) became effective for subsidy approval. This has caused most LFP batteries to become phased out from light vehicles, and the NMC cathodes are expected to grow more.”

The thing that chart doesn’t show is how much the market has grown. Batteries for electric cars and other light-duty electric vehicles grew from an output of 1 GWh in 2011 to an output of 37 GWh in 2017. Furthermore, batteries for electric buses hit another 26 GWh in 2017.

Aside from the batteries, it’s obligatory to highlight that electric car sales grew strong yet again. Globally, plug-in car sales were up 66% in the first half of 2018 versus the first half of 2017.

Fully electric cars outsold plug-in hybrids by a ratio of almost 2:1, with the former accounting for 64% of global electric car sales and the latter accounting for 36%.

In terms of country growth, these were the 9 leading markets:

  1. Denmark (+691%)
  2. South Korea (+169%)
  3. Canada (+168%)
  4. Finland (+148%)
  5. The Netherlands (+126%)
  6. Portugal (+119%)
  7. China (+105%)
  8. Spain (+99%)
  9. Australia (+98%)

For an undisclosed reason, EV Volumes increased its 2018 forecast by 100,000 units. It now expects 2.1 million electric car sales in 2018. That would mean a total of 5.4 million electric cars on the roads globally by New Year’s Eve. When you consider that Tesla aims to produce approximately half a million cars next year, that makes its growth all the more impressive. Half a million cars would be approximately 25% of 2018 electric car sales globally and approximately 15% of the world’s electric car fleet at the end of 2017 — and these figures include plug-in hybrids as well as fully electric cars.

For some more context, I asked Jose Pontes of EV Volumes why they increased their 2018 forecast. He replied that it was due to Tesla’s production ramp and China’s strong sales.

China hosted 51% of the world’s plug-in car sales in the first half of the year, and plug-in vehicles scored a fairly high 3% market share there, peaking at nearly 5% in one month. China also has a particularly high share of fully electric sales among its plug-in vehicle sales — 71% compared to 53% in the USA and 51% in Europe for the same period.

As far as EV market share of the broader car market, the leaders are still Norway (37% market share), Iceland (14%), and Sweden (5%).

If you include plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), BYD barely held onto its #1 position as the top electric car seller globally. However, removing PHEVs would push it off the podium completely. Tesla would be #1, followed by BAIC in #2 and Nissan in #3.

Given the Model 3’s ramp in production, it’s almost certain the company will top everyone in plug-in vehicle sales in 2018 as a whole.

“BYD leads the ranking for 2018 H1, a position it has held since 2015. BYD delivered 72 000 units in H1, twice as many cars as in 2017 H1, thanks to the success of the new Song SUV and a revised Qin Sedan. Both models are PHEVs,” EV Volumes notes.

“Among the international OEMs, Volvo and Hyundai-Kia gained most share versus last year, while the sector representation of Ford went from bad to worse.”

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Tags: Australia, BAIC, BYD, Canada, China, China electric vehicles, China EV sales, Denmark, EV batteries, Finland, Hyundai, kia, Lithium Manganese Oxide batteries, LMO batteries, NCA batteries, Nickel Cobalt Aluminium batteries, Nickel Manganese Cobalt batteries, NMC, NMC batteries, norway, panasonic, portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tesla, Tesla batteries, the Netherlands, volvo

About the Author

Zachary Shahan Zach is tryin’ to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He’s also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada.

Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don’t jump to conclusions.

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