xEVs and lithium-ion battery trends (2)

Companies compete to develop batteries with a driving range of 500 km



GM's 2017 Bolt EV
(GM's 2017 Bolt EV: press release)

  Will EVs, of which a total of 1.09 million vehicles were sold globally in 2016, continue to grow over the next 10 years to replace internal combustion engine vehicles? How much will batteries, the core technology of EVs, improve in performance? This report is the 2nd part of a series covering the Rechargeable Battery Expo seminar hosted by Battery Japan, and will introduce battery costs and OEM's demands for increased performance. According to SNE Research (a Korean research firm specializing in rechargeable batteries, renewable energy, EVs, and LEDs), cost demands for OEM battery packs are USD 102/KWh per pack.

  GM is aiming to develop a USD 100/KWh battery pack by 2020 as part of its cost reduction goals for the Bolt, which was launched at the end of 2016 as a 2017 model. The target cost for VW's MEB (next-generation EV project) is USD 93/KWh per battery cell (as of 2020). Can battery suppliers meet the cost and performance demands of OEMs, and provide a stable supply?

Related reports:

xEVs and lithium-ion battery trends (1) (Mar. 2017)
European automaker technology trends: Electric Vehicles (Nov. 2016)
Tesla Motors: Accelerating plans for production of 500,000 vehicles to 2018 (Oct. 2016)

Cost requirements: VW seeks for USD 93/KWh, GM a USD 100/KWh battery pack

  Calvin Lee, EVP of SNE Research, spoke at a seminar at the exhibition and claimed that OEM batteries have a requirement for USD 100/KWh or less per pack with a volume of 60 KWh.

  Assuming the engine, transmission, drive shaft, and gasoline tank of a Golf class internal combustion engine vehicle cost USD 2,000, 1,500, 900, and 600, respectively, the figures in the image below offer an estimate of the reasonable cost for a battery pack. Assuming the mileage of a VW Golf class vehicle is 13.5 km/liter and the FTP equivalent fuel consumption of GM's Bolt is 50.3km/liter, in comparing the costs of gasoline over five years the estimated cost of a vehicle featuring a 60 KWh battery would be USD 102/KWh per battery pack. In this example the annual driving distance has been set at 16,000 km, and gasoline prices at 74 cents/liter.

Documents provided by SNE
(Documents provided by SNE Research)
The Bolt's 60 KWh
lithium-ion battery pack
(The Bolt's 60 KWh lithium-ion battery pack. Source: GM documents)

  Furthermore, in the nine years from 2020 to 2028, VW plans to release a minimum of six EV models with the same platform under nameplates including the Golf, Polo, and Tiguan as part of its MEB project, and has ambitiously set a goal to sell 6.4 million vehicles (65% scheduled to be produced in China, 35% in Poland). VW has also released a request for quotation (RFQ) for batteries to suppliers such as LGC, SDI, Panasonic, and Lishen; and has set a target cost for USD 93/KWh (cell + module cost + manufacturing cost total) by 2020 (48% cost reduction from 2016 standards).

SNE Research lecture
(Source: SNE Research lecture documents)

The war for battery development: Fierce competition between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean battery suppliers

  Until 2016, the top selling EV model was Nissan's Leaf, followed by Tesla's Model S, and BYD's Tang and Qin, which ranked 3rd and 4th, respectively. By OEM, BYD ranks 1st, Tesla in 2nd, and Nissan in 3rd. (Check marks in the chart below designate Chinese OEMs and Chinese models)

[By OEM] [By model]
(SNE Research documents)

  Moreover, battery shipments saw Panasonic rank 1st, followed by BYD in 2nd, and AESC in 3rd. Each company accepted orders from VW, Audi, BMW, and GM, and is planning to increase production in anticipation of 2020 and beyond.

SNE Research documents
(SNE Research documents)


  Panasonic has received confirmed orders through 2022 valued at USD 45 billion (USD 1=JPY 100 for JPY 4.5 trillion), followed by LGC at USD 38 billion, and CATL at USD 37 billion.

SNE research documents
(SNE research documents)

Massive numbers of lithium-ion batteries: Orders between 2000 and 2025 hitting a maximum of 1900 GWh??!!

  When the number of xEVs that OEMs have announced they will sell by around 2025 are added up, the sum would be around 24 million vehicles, with Daimler aiming for annual sales of 1 million vehicles, VW/Audi a maximum of 1 million vehicles, and Renault Nissan 1.5 million vehicles. Hypothetically speaking, battery suppliers have estimated that there is a possibility of a need for roughly 1900 GWh worth of batteries.

SNE Research forecast
(SNE Research forecast documents)

Anticipation of increased battery performance in the future: Increasing driving range per charge from 300 km to 500 km

  In order for EVs to replace internal combustion engine vehicles, the driving range per charge must be extended. Currently, research is being conducted for future batteries to increase the driving range from the current 300 km to 500 km.

  The basic concept of lithium-ion batteries was established in 1985 by Dr. Akira Yoshino of Japan's Asahi Chemical Industry (currently known as Asahi Kasei Corporation), and first commercialized by Sony Energy Tech in 1991. Following the IT revolution, lithium-ion batteries came into widespread use.

  In 2017, it is forecasted that 50 GWh of lithium-ion batteries will be shipped globally for mobile devices. Furthermore, with the shift towards EVs, another 50 GWh are expected to be shipped for automotive use for a total of 100 GWh.

  Today, the energy density of lithium-ion batteries is roughly 600 Wh/L, but to increase vehicle driving range to 500 km, research is being conducted on improving cathodes and anodes. Additionally, work is being carried out on all-solid-state ceramic batteries, which feature solid electrolytes, and have output that is 3 times greater than that of lithium-ion batteries.

  An all-solid-state ceramic battery has been developed by a research group under the leadership of Professor Ryoji Kanno of the Tokyo Institute of Technology School of Materials and Chemical Technology, and Dr. Yuki Kato of Toyota Motor Corporation. The battery is ideal for automotive use thanks to its energy density and fast charging time, but is still in the research stage. (Nature Energy April 2016 issue)

SNE Research documents
(SNE Research documents)

  The key question is whether batteries that can meet the cost and performance demands of OEMs become a reality in the next 10 or so years.

GM BOLT, VW MEB, ZEV, xEVs, Electric Vehicles, lithium-ion batteries, cost, driving range

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