Battery shortage worries amid electric vehicle growth

According to IDTechEx, significant growth is predicted for the electric vehicle market, which will result in almost one trillion dollars in sales at ex-factory prices in 2026.

Approximately half of this is predicted to be the 48V mild hybrids that are launching in 2017, but by 2026, sales will consist of completely electric vehicles with up to four pure electric modes.

Analysts have expressed concern that there may not be enough gigafactories to produce all of the large batteries that will be needed, however.

Peter Harrop, Chairman of IDTechEx stated that lithium-ion battery demand is difficult to predict, as the question is not just whether vehicles will use supercapacitor or NiMH traction batteries instead of lithium-ion batteries, but also how lithium-ion battery costs will change over the years.

If lithium-ion batteries do indeed become widely-used, user experience could be significantly improved, according to the chairman.

“In 2017, any pure electric car with less than 322km range, a doubling over 2016, will look jaded,” he said.

“That doubling is coming from larger batteries being fitted with an affordable price and various other improvements such as more efficient powertrains and aerodynamics. Looking at the battery [itself], progress is more sedate.”

The most common projection of lithium-ion traction battery cost by others has been a halving in ten years, which can also be seen as a doubling in range, according to the chairman.