Hey there! With climate change and rising gas prices, more and more people are switching to electric vehicles (EVs). But what actually powers these EVs? Lithium-ion batteries! As EVs go mainstream, demand for high-performance and affordable lithium-ion batteries has exploded.
This has sparked massive growth in the lithium battery industry, with major manufacturers ramping up production and building partnerships with automakers. In fact, the lithium battery market is projected to grow from $44.2 billion in 2022 to a whopping $116.6 billion by 2030 according to market research firm MarketsandMarkets.
Leading this charge are seven companies that collectively control over 90% of the global lithium battery market. Want to learn about the battery tech that‘s electrifying the future of driving? Stick with me as we explore the top lithium battery manufacturers worldwide!
Overview: The Red-Hot Market for EV Batteries
Before diving into the major players, let‘s take a quick look at what‘s driving growth in the lithium battery space.
The main factor is surging EV adoption. Governments worldwide are pushing policies to phase out gas-powered cars. Automakers like Tesla, GM and Volkswagen are releasing new EV models annually. And drivers are realizing EVs save money on gas while reducing emissions.
BloombergNEF projects that by 2040, EVs will make up over 50% of all passenger vehicle sales globally. To make this EV future happen, affordable and high-performing lithium-ion batteries are essential.
Lithium batteries boast advantages over older battery chemistries:
- Higher energy density – More capacity to drive longer distances per charge
- Lower cost – Dropped 89% in real terms from 2010 to 2020
- Faster charging – Can fully recharge in under an hour with fast charging
- Improved safety – Less risk of overheating and fire compared to early designs
With such benefits, automakers are clamoring for lithium-ion batteries to meet EV demand. Top battery makers are investing billions into larger factories and advanced R&D to expand production.
Let‘s look at the lithium battery leaders powering the vehicles of tomorrow!
7. CALB – 4% Market Share
Our first company is CALB, short for China Aviation Lithium Battery. Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Luoyang, China, CALB has a 4% share of the global lithium battery market.
While small compared to giants like CATL and LG Chem, CALB is still a major player. The company generated revenue of $957.62 million in 2021 from lithium battery production and sales.
CALB offers lithium-ion batteries for EVs, mining equipment, rail systems, renewable energy storage and other applications. On the EV side, CALB‘s batteries power models from Chinese automakers like Guangzhou Automobile Group, Changan Auto and Yutong buses.
To meet demand, CALB operates manufacturing plants in multiple Chinese cities including Chengdu, Meishan and Xiamen. The company has also begun expanding overseas, opening a production base in California in the US.
Though a bit player for now, CALB‘s partnerships with domestic automakers give it an edge in the rapidly growing Chinese EV market. The company also invests heavily in battery tech R&D, filing over 1,300 patents to date.
6. BYD Co. Ltd. – 11% Market Share
Next up is BYD (Build Your Dreams) from Shenzhen, China. Founded in 1995, BYD has grown into an auto and battery giant. Here are some key facts about this company:
- 11% global lithium battery market share
- World‘s 3rd largest lithium battery maker
- Over 600,000 EVs sold in 2021
- 5,000+ cycles achieved by BYD‘s blade battery design
BYD has two main subsidiaries: BYD Auto focuses on EVs, while BYD Electronics produces lithium batteries and solar panels. In 2021, BYD Auto sold more than 600,000 electric vehicles, making BYD the largest EV manufacturer in China.
Unlike rivals, BYD uses lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathodes rather than nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) cathodes in their EV batteries. LFP improves battery safety and longevity at the cost of slightly lower energy density. Impressively, BYD‘s blade battery design can withstand over 5,000 charge cycles before degrading.
With strong domestic demand and advances in battery tech, expect BYD to continue growing both its auto and battery businesses in the years ahead.
5. Samsung SDI – 5% Market Share
You probably know Samsung for its phones, TVs and other electronics. But did you know the Korean giant is also a major battery player?
Under its Samsung SDI subsidiary founded in 1970, Samsung manufactures small lithium-ion batteries for mobile devices. This includes batteries for smartphones, laptops, watches, wireless earbuds, tablets and more.
In 2021, Samsung SDI controlled 5% of the global lithium battery market, generating impressive revenue of $11.67 billion. The company‘s prismatic cell design enables densely packed, high-capacity batteries that safely power our smart devices.
Beyond mobile applications, Samsung SDI also supplies EV batteries to auto partners like BMW. With battery production sites in South Korea, China, Hungary, Malaysia and Vietnam, Samsung has the scale to meet rising demand across sectors.
4. Panasonic – 7% Market Share
Japan‘s Panasonic has been producing lithium-ion batteries since before the EV boom. Way back in 1991, the electronics giant began developing lithium battery tech for mobile phones and laptops.
When EVs arrived on the scene, Panasonic was perfectly positioned to dominate. In 2010, they began a longstanding partnership with upstart EV maker Tesla.
For over a decade, Panasonic has supplied battery cells for all of Tesla‘s electric vehicles. The two companies jointly operate a 35 GWh Gigafactory in Nevada dedicated to Tesla battery production. Additional factories in Japan, China and elsewhere supply Panasonic‘s other auto partners.
In 2021, Panasonic held 7% of the global lithium battery market, with its automotive battery business generating $12.3 billion in revenue. Thanks to early investments in li-ion batteries, Panasonic will continue leading the market for years to come.
3. LG Energy Solution – 20% Market Share
Now we reach the podium spots, starting with South Korean giant LG Energy Solution. Spun off from parent company LG Chem in 2020, LG Energy Solution is the world‘s 2nd largest lithium battery producer.
Some key facts about this battery behemoth:
- 20% global market share in 2021
- Over $15.6 billion in annual lithium battery revenue
- Supplies GM, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Tesla and more
LG Energy Solution makes lithium-ion batteries for every type of EV – hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric. The company operates major manufacturing hubs in the US, South Korea, China, Poland and elsewhere.
Adding to its market lead, in 2022 LG announced joint ventures with GM to build new US battery plants. With R&D investments and partnerships securing its position, LG Energy Solution will help power the EV transition worldwide.
2. CATL – 32% Market Share
Our runner-up is Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited, better known as CATL. Headquartered in Fujian, China, CATL has skyrocketed to become the world‘s largest lithium battery producer.
Let‘s look at some stats on this battery behemoth:
- Founded in 2011, recently went public in 2018
- 32% market share – double its nearest competitor LG
- Over $20 billion in 2021 lithium battery revenue
- Supplies batteries for Tesla, Toyota, BMW and more
Unlike competitors, CATL focuses almost exclusively on EV batteries rather than consumer electronics. The company also opts for lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) chemistry over LFP. NMC offers higher energy density but is less stable.
CATL operates factories in China, Germany and Hungary and is expanding rapidly. By 2025, the company aims to boost production capacity to an astonishing 500 GWh per year.
With massive scale and cutting-edge tech, CATL is cementing its position as the world‘s battery leader. This Chinese giant will play a key role in driving EV adoption worldwide.
1. SK On – 6% Market Share
Finally, rounding out our list is SK On, the battery subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate SK Group. SK On held 6% market share in 2021 and generates billions in battery sales.
Fun facts about SK On:
- Spun off from parent SK Innovation in 2022
- Supplying lithium batteries since 2005
- Building $5 billion factory in Tennessee with Ford, opening 2025
- Aims to expand production capacity to over 200 GWh by 2025
Major automotive partners include Ford, Hyundai and Daimler. SK On brings over 15 years of battery expertise to these partnerships as EVs go mainstream.
SK On has battery production facilities in South Korea, China, Hungary and more. The company is also constructing its biggest plant yet – a $5 billion BlueOval SK joint venture with Ford in Tennessee.
When this 129 GWh facility opens in 2025, it will help cement SK On as a battery leader as demand grows in the coming years.
We‘ve covered a lot of ground exploring the top seven lithium battery companies worldwide:
|SK On||South Korea||6%||$38.8 billion|
|LG Energy Solution||South Korea||20%||$15.6 billion|
|Samsung SDI||South Korea||5%||$11.67 billion|
Together, these giants supply over 90% of lithium batteries globally. They are ramping up production capacities and battery tech to meet soaring demand from automakers.
Thanks to the innovations by these leading lithium companies, EVs are becoming more affordable, powerful and convenient. As battery costs keep falling, EV adoption will only accelerate – and these seven firms will lead the charge.
So there you have it – a deep dive on the battery leaders driving the electric vehicle revolution! Let me know if you have any other questions.