The world’s electric-vehicle market could be awash in new Chinese batteries after Chinese companies complete a planned expansion of lithium-ion battery manufacturing to more than 120 gigawatt-hours of battery power a year by 2021, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence report. Bloomberg states that this would be enough to power 1.5 million Tesla Model S cars or 13.7 million Toyota Prius hybrids.
This production ramp-up will push China’s share of global lithium-ion battery production to 65%, up from 55% today. The United States, by comparison, produces only 10% of the world’s lithium-ion batteries.
The lithium-ion battery is a widely popular battery of choice for home electronics, aerospace applications, and cars. It creates an electric charge using a positive metal oxide, a negative carbon electrode, and an electrolyte conductor.
The market is on a fast growth trajectory and is expected to continue growing as electric vehicles become more common on the world’s roadways and as power companies establish new battery-storage facilities to receive and store electric power from solar and wind-energy installations.
China’s new factory plans coincide with Tesla’s recently announced goal of building four new lithium-ion battery factories by the end of 2017. One of these will be based in Nevada and will be the largest lithium-ion battery factory on Earth. It will roll out 35 gigawatt-hours’ worth of batteries a year—it will still be dwarfed by China’s new factory output.
Tesla first announced the “gigafactory,” as it calls the Nevada site, around three years ago. And when it did, it inspired new completion, said Simon Moores, managing director at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
“The Gigafactory announced three years ago sparked a global battery arms race,” said Moores. “China is making a big push.”