If you‘ve been following the rise of electric vehicles over the past decade, you know that advanced lithium-ion batteries are what make EVs possible. The EV revolution we‘re witnessing simply wouldn‘t be happening without the remarkable progress in battery technologies.
As EVs go mainstream with consumers worldwide, the companies manufacturing their massive battery packs have become some of the most important players in the auto industry. These battery giants are ramping up production capacity exponentially to meet the surging demand.
In this in-depth guide, I‘ll countdown the 10 largest and most critical battery makers powering the transition to electric transportation. We‘ll explore key facts and innovations that make each company a leader.
Why Large-Scale Battery Makers Are Pivotal
Before diving into the companies, it‘s worth understanding why large, established battery manufacturers hold the keys to electrifying transportation:
Battery expertise – They have vast R&D resources and decades of experience innovating battery chemistry and production processes. This gives them an edge.
Industry partnerships – They have close relationships with automakers to co-develop batteries tailored to each EV model.
Production capacity – Building battery gigafactories requires billions in capital investment that only major players have access to.
Quality and safety – Auto brands demand flawless reliability and safety given EVs‘ dependence on batteries. Reputation is paramount.
Cost efficiencies – Their scale achieves economies of scale critical for driving down battery costs as EV adoption accelerates.
Let‘s now explore the top 10 battery makers worldwide powering the EV revolution!
10. Samsung SDI – Innovating New EV Battery Designs
Headquarters: South Korea
Although best known for electronics like TVs and phones, Samsung has a major battery offshoot – Samsung SDI. They have grown to become a leading EV battery manufacturer:
- Supply batteries to major automakers including BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo and Stellantis
- Operate factories in Asia, Europe and North America
- Producing prismatic EV cells using own proprietary technology
- Built new 9GWh plant in Hungary in 2019 to expand capacity
- Aim to reach 150 GWh annually by 2025 to meet booming demand
Samsung SDI continues to innovate. They recently unveiled a new all-solid-state battery design which enhances density and safety compared to liquids. This next-gen battery could drive EVs over 800 km on a single charge, according to Samsung.
With their technology investments and expanding global production, Samsung SDI powers the EV transition worldwide.
9. Guoxuan (Gotion) – China‘s Lithium Leader
You may not have heard of Guoxuan, also known as Gotion, but they are the dominant EV battery supplier in their home country of China.
Some key facts about this Chinese battery giant:
- Specialize in lithium-ion and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries
- Supply LFP cells to multiple major Chinese EV brands including NIO, Xpeng, Li Auto
- Also export EV batteries to Volkswagen and Hyundai
- Operating large-scale battery factories across four provinces in China
- Planning new production bases in Germany, Sweden and Michigan to expand reach
- Targeting manufacturing capacity of 150 GWh annually by 2025
With China leading the world in EV adoption, Guoxuan powers the majority of electric vehicles on Chinese roads today. Their international expansion will boost the global battery supply chain.
8. SK Innovation – Betting Big on US Battery Production
Headquarters: South Korea
South Korean energy giant SK Innovation is a major player in Asian battery production:
- Supplies EV batteries to Hyundai, Kia and Ford‘s F-150 Lightning pickup
- Operates battery factories in South Korea, China, Hungary totaling over 40GWh annually
- Building new US plants in Georgia (9.8GWh) and Kentucky (30GWh)
- Plans to spin off its battery business into a new JV with Hyundai Motor Group
- Targets 200 GWh global capacity by 2025
SK innovation has made huge investments in the United States to ramp up capacity and secure battery metals. Their Georgia plant will supply Ford‘s next-generation EVs.
With cutting-edge R&D and massive new US factories, SK Innovation aims to dominate EV battery supply chains outside Asia.
7. EnerSys – Top Producer of Lithium Batteries for Commercial EVs
Headquarters: United States
You may not know the name EnerSys, but they are the world‘s largest producer of lead-acid batteries used across industries. In recent years, the company based in Pennsylvania has expanded into manufacturing lithium-ion batteries as well:
- One of the only major lithium cell producers headquartered in the US
- Supply lithium batteries for commercial electric vehicles – buses, trucks, tractors
- Customers include New Flyer, BYD, Zenobe Energy and others
- Operates 8 manufacturing facilities in the United States and Europe
- Investment in modern automated production and engineering labs
By bringing lithium technology to new heavy-duty vehicle applications, EnerSys empowers these industries to transition to zero-emission EVs powered by their batteries.
6. BYD – Vertical Integration From Batteries to EVs
Chinese company BYD takes a unique approach – they manufacture electric vehicles and the lithium batteries to power them. Some facts:
- Produce own lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells for use across their lineup of EVs – buses, trucks, forklifts, passenger cars
- Claimed industry-leading safety with their "Blade Battery" design
- Supply batteries for EVs from its Shenzhen factory, one of the largest in the world
- Ambitious capacity expansion plans – targeting over 200 GWh annually by 2025
BYD‘s vertical integration gives them control over their supply chain from mineral sourcing through battery manufacturing and into vehicle assembly. With this model they can optimize performance and costs.
BYD‘s soaring EV sales in China confirm the success of this strategy. Their batteries will continue powering rapid adoption.
5. LG Energy Solution – Battery Spinoff Focused on EVs
Headquarters: South Korea
Founded: 2018 (spinoff from LG Chem)
In 2018, the battery business unit of industrial giant LG officially spun off into a standalone company named LG Energy Solution. This allowed them to focus exclusively on batteries.
Some key facts about this EV battery leader:
- One of the world‘s largest suppliers of lithium-ion cells to automakers
- Major customers include GM, Ford, Stellantis, Renault, Hyundai and more
- Operates factories in South Korea, Poland, China and the US
- Produces advanced NCM cells and entire pack designs
- Targeting production capacity over 200 GWh by 2023
LG Energy Solution‘s massive scale and singular focus on batteries ensures they will continue playing a pivotal role in global EV supply chains.
4. Panasonic – Partnered with Tesla Since the Start
Japanese electronics conglomerate Panasonic has been a driving force in EV batteries since the very beginning, thanks to its close partnership with Tesla:
- Has supplied lithium-ion cells for all Tesla models since 2008
- Operates Gigafactory 1 in Nevada with Tesla – produces battery packs
- Co-invested over $4 billion in new Gigafactory in Texas
- Created a new 4680 cell design optimized for Tesla‘s needs
- Leading R&D on improving energy density, reducing costs
By enabling Tesla‘s vehicles to achieve record-breaking range and performance, Panasonic batteries were pivotal in the brand‘s meteoric rise and making EVs desirable. This mutually beneficial partnership will continue driving innovation.
3. A123 Systems – Cutting-Edge Lithium Technology in Massachusetts
Headquarters: United States
Founded out of an MIT lab in 2001, Massachusetts-based A123 Systems is a leading developer of advanced lithium-ion batteries.
Here are some key facts about their innovative battery tech:
- Pioneered lithium nanophosphate cathodes, providing high power and longevity
- Cells can discharge and recharge quickly at 15C to 30C rates
- Improved safety compared to cobalt oxide chemistries
- Manufacture complete battery systems and packs, not just cells
- Customers include Navistar, Mahindra, Porsche, Eaton and others
- Operates manufacturing in China and the United States
A123‘s batteries enable next-gen fast-charging capabilities that will be critical as EV adoption scales up. Their cutting-edge R&D in the U.S. drives lithium technology forward.
2. Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL)
Though founded only in 2011, China‘s CATL has quickly become one of the giants of the battery industry:
- Supplies over 48% of batteries to EVs made in China – the world‘s largest EV market
- Key customers include BMW, Toyota, Honda, VW, Daimler and others
- Massive new factory in Germany will supply European automakers
- Plans to achieve capacity of 600 GWh annually by 2025
- Investing in new cell technologies – sodium-ion, lithium-sulfur
CATL‘s meteoric rise exemplifies China‘s dominance in lithium-ion battery manufacturing and critical role in global supply chains. CATL will be essential for meeting surging EV demand worldwide.
1. LG Chem
Headquarters: South Korea
The indisputable leader in EV batteries globally is South Korea‘s LG Chem. They are a major supplier to nearly every major automaker:
- Supplies batteries for EVs from GM, Ford, Volvo, Renault, Hyundai-Kia
- Operates an immense 30 GWh plant in Holland, Michigan
- Has production facilities across Asia, Europe and North America
- Plans to expand manufacturing capacity to over 200 GWh by 2025
- Investing $4.5 billion USD in new US battery plants
LG Chem‘s unrivaled scale and reach ensures their batteries will continue powering a significant share of electric vehicles produced globally.
With continued investment in production and R&D, LG Chem is poised to remain atop the battery industry as EV adoption accelerates.
The Future is Electric
As consumer appetite for EVs grows globally, the battery makers profiled here will be essential for scaling production and continuing innovation. Their manufacturing expertise, cutting-edge R&D and established automaker relationships position them to meet soaring demand.
I hope this overview has provided insight into these influential companies and their unmatched capabilities enabling the EV revolution. Of course, there are many emerging startups working on next-gen battery tech. But the sheer scale and resources of giants like CATL and LG Chem will be difficult to displace.
The future is undoubtedly electric. And these battery pioneers hold the keys to getting us there.