• Jul 30th 2011 at 12:37PM
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Chevrolet Volt battery pack – Click above for high-res image gallery

In its latest report, Lux Research ranks lithium-ion battery manufacturers and makers of ultracapacitors on its Lux Innovation Grid, a proprietary framework that supposedly assesses the relative performance of companies, The report, titled "Using Partnerships to Stay Afloat in the Electric Vehicle Storm," claims that lithium-ion battery manufacturer, LG Chem, leads the industry and that Maxwell Technologies heads up the ultracapacitor field.

Lux Research assigns scores for each company's technical value, business execution and maturity. Based on these scores, analysts plot a firm's relative potential on the Lux Innovation Grid, which consists four quadrants: Dominant, High-Potential, Long-Shot, and Undistinguished. Among the report's highlights:
  • LG Chem Power leads the li-ion battery-maker pack. LG Chemical subsidiary LG Chem Power sits atop the grid's Dominant quadrant, with strong technical value, due to its high-energy lithium-manganese-spinel-based cells and strong cycle life at costs that are among the most competitive in the market. Its multitude of supply partnerships with the likes of General Motors, Eaton, and Ford, however, are what justify the company's strong business execution score.
  • A123 Systems and Ener1 garner more headlines than momentum. The two land well out of the Dominant quadrant of the Lux Innovation Grid. Motivated by the potential for major automotive supply deals, both were originally building significant manufacturing capacity. But despite a few minor partnerships, neither has scored a major deal that will drive significant revenue.
  • Maxwell leads the Dominant quadrant of the Lux Innovation Grid for supercapacitors. Its high score for technical value derives from cost competitiveness and strong device performance, while its high business execution score stems from multiple partnerships.
So, did Lux Research get it right? Let us know what you think by dropping a comment below.


  • A battery engineer checks a Chevrolet Volt battery at the General Motors Global Battery Systems Lab in Warren, Michigan Wednesday, June 30, 2010. The Chevrolet Volt will offer customers an unprecedented standard 8 year/100,000 mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery. GM engineers have completed more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation battery testing since 2007. Each Volt battery pack has nine modules and 288 cells. GM designed and engineered 99 percent of the 155 components in each battery. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)
  • A Chevrolet Volt battery at the General Motors Global Battery Systems Lab in Warren, Michigan Wednesday, June 30, 2010. The Chevrolet Volt will offer customers an unprecedented standard 8 year/100,000 mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery. GM engineers have completed more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation battery testing since 2007. Each Volt battery pack has nine modules and 288 cells. GM designed and engineered 99 percent of the 155 components in each battery. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)
  • The first Chevrolet Volt battery built at the General Motors Brownstown Battery plant undergoes a dimensional quality check in Brownstown Township, Michigan Tuesday, December 22, 2009. The Brownstown facility is the first lithium ion battery pack manufacturing plant in the U.S. operated by a major automaker. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)
  • The first Chevrolet Volt battery moves through the assembly process at the General Motors Brownstown Battery plant in Brownstown Township, Michigan Tuesday, December 22, 2009. The Brownstown facility is the first lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing plant in the U.S. operated by a major automaker. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)
  • The first Chevrolet Volt battery makes its way through the General Motors Brownstown Battery plant on an automated guided cart (AGC) in Brownstown Township, Michigan Tuesday, December 22, 2009. The Brownstown facility is the first lithium ion battery pack manufacturing plant in the U.S. operated by a major automaker. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)


[Source: Lux Research]
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Lux Research Ranks Energy Storage Suppliers for Electric Vehicles

The Lux Innovation Grid shows the top innovators, as looming oversupply of batteries makes forming smart partnerships essential.


BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The hype around electric vehicles has fueled interest in energy storage technologies, and has attracted an increasing number of competitors to an already crowded market. Soon, it will be impossible for all of these companies to survive, making strong partnerships a necessity. In its latest report, Lux Research ranks technology developers in both Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors on the Lux Innovation Grid to help determine which will make the strongest potential partners as the electric vehicle market matures.

"The electric vehicle value chain is growing so integrated that battery makers must have strong partnerships with one or more automakers"

The report, titled "Using Partnerships to Stay Afloat in the Electric Vehicle Storm," maps the current web of relationships among energy storage developers, integrators, and automakers, and analyzes supply and demand for energy storage in electric vehicles. It then ranks companies on the Lux Innovation Grid, a proprietary framework to help readers assess the relative performance of potential partners.

"The electric vehicle value chain is growing so integrated that battery makers must have strong partnerships with one or more automakers," said Kevin See, a Lux Analyst and the report's lead author. "These relationships are necessary to build credibility and drive new business, as illustrated by Li-ion battery-maker LG Chem, whose strong partnerships propelled it to the top position in our rankings."

To assess the partnership potential of energy storage developers targeting the electric vehicle market, Lux Research assigned scores for each company's technical value, business execution, and maturity. Based on these scores, analysts plotted each company's relative potential on the Lux Innovation Grid, which comprises four quadrants: Dominant, High-Potential, Long-Shot, and Undistinguished. Among the report's highlights:

LG Chem Power leads the Li-ion battery-maker pack. LG Chemical subsidiary LG Chem Power sits atop the grid's Dominant quadrant, with strong technical value, due to its high-energy lithium-manganese-spinel-based cells and strong cycle life – at costs that are among the most competitive in the market. Its multitude of supply partnerships with the likes of GM, Eaton, and Ford, however, are what justify the company's strong business execution score.
A123 and Ener1 garner more headlines than momentum. Media darlings A123 and Ener1 land well out of the Dominant quadrant of the Lux Innovation Grid. Motivated by the potential for major automotive supply deals, both were originally building significant manufacturing capacity. But despite a few minor partnerships, neither has scored a major deal that will drive significant revenue.

Among supercapacitor suppliers, Maxwell stands alone. Maxwell leads the Dominant quadrant of the Lux Innovation Grid for supercapacitors. Its high score for technical value derives from cost competitiveness and strong device performance, while its high business execution score stems from multiple partnerships – among them, supply deals for applications including hybrid buses and micro-hybrids, and more recently in starter modules for commercial diesel vehicles.

"Using Partnerships to Stay Afloat in the Electric Vehicle Storm," is part of the Lux Electric Vehicles Intelligence service. Clients subscribing to this service receive ongoing research on market and technology trends, continuous technology scouting reports and proprietary data points in the weekly Lux Research Electric Vehicles Journal, and on-demand inquiry with Lux Research analysts.

About Lux Research

Lux Research provides strategic advice and on-going intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on us to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through our unique research approach focused on primary research and our extensive global network, we deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to our clients. Visit www.luxresearchinc.com for more information.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      Peter
      • 4 Years Ago
      No one knows how long the pack will last. Maximal depth of charge is one thing but what a BEV will allow in the Leaf (which we agree is deep) is not what people will do, and they won't do the gas thing and fill up at under a quarter tank. They will travel their 50Km commute and then plug it in regardless of their SOC because they installed a plug at home.
        Schmart Guy
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Peter
        I've also read that some LEAF owners are setting the maximum charge to 80%, to extend the life of the battery.
        EV Now
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Peter
        We will know soon enough. There are people discharging deep twice a day - and have commutes of over 130 miles. A lot of us are charging to 80% since we don't need more - but more importantly that allows more regen.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Peter
        Calendar life is the real problem with lithium batteries. 8-10 years seems to be about it for these batteries, thus far.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @q3a7vodk4 You wrote: "Companies like tesla and GM have opted to go with battery chemistries which offer slightly more energy density, so you can go further on less kWh, but have severe tradeoffs. 1. more like a 300 cycle lifetime than a 3000." 300 cycles at one a day is less than a year. Am I interpreting this correctly? Probably not since there are quite a few Teslas on the road that have been rolling for about 4 years.
        Roy_H
        • 4 Years Ago
        The LG Chem battery in GM's Volt is good for a lot more than 300 cycles, probably closer to 3000. GM's second choice, A123 LiFePO4 battery was good for up to 8000 cycles, but as the article states is lower energy density. Although I would characterize 40% as significantly more instead of sightly more. Tesla's NEC Li-ion batteries are rated at 300 cycles, but Tesla determined that with the right Battery Management System, they could greatly extend that. This is why the same batteries in your laptop die after 2 or 3 years, but the Roadster keeps running. I personally find it frustrating that my Windows operating system does not allow me to prevent overcharging by providing an upper charge limit. ( I set my low limit at 20% and it still died before 2 years.)
      Smith Jim
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wonder how EEstor was rated by Lux Research.
      Roy_H
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not at all impressed with Lux Research. First they have stated the obvious. GM spent 10s of millions of dollars just evaluating batteries before settling on LG Chem. A123 was runner up. Second LG Chem batteries are Lithium-Manganese-Polymer batteries NOT spinel. This is why they are superior to Nissan's LEAF batteries which are older generation Lithium-Manganese-Spinel. If Lux Research can't even get the chemistry right, how good is their research? I seriously doubt Ford did any research at all, just followed GM's lead.
      Marco Polo
      • 4 Years Ago
      Battery management. This is where the enthusiast and the consumer diverge. The average consumer is not interested in the various vagaries of battery maintenance, he simply wants to plug in and the cars computer makes the charge idiot proof. On the other hand, the enthusiast will find the intricacies of battery maintenance fascinating and will, if given a chance, bore everyone (but fellow enthusiasts) with anorak details of battery technology. One of the reasons EV manufacturers have failed, Modec, Vectrix, etc, was the difficulties associated with owners not understanding the requirements of battery maintenance. Owners of early EV's complained bitterly at the complicated charging regimes, that led to battery defects and failures. Most EV/Hybrid owners, ('cept the true enthusiast), will trade the vehicle in on a newer model, long before the battery has reached the end of it's life. (Or, if Renault has it's way, lease the battery pack.) Both Maxwell and LG seem to have grasped the need to provide 'idiot-proof' batteries systems, but battery technology is evolving so rapidly, it's impossible to predict the eventual winner , or even technology.
      Levine Levine
      • 4 Years Ago
      The guys who make Tesla's Li-ion battery is the dominant one. Proven. Scalable. In service.
        Spec
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        It is built from a chemistry that will probably have too short of a lifetime. People are not going to be happy in a few years when they need their Roadster battery replaced.
      Ziv
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very interesting to see LG Chem getting these kudos. Probably makes GM and Ford engineers feel a bit better. Still trying to figure out how Nissan is going to respond if the deep draws on their NEC pack degrade the pack faster than they plan. It sounds like Nissan has minimal pack management and a deep draw to boot. LG Chem may have the last laugh.
        usbseawolf2000
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        Volt's battery has to work twice as hard as the Leaf's for two reasons. 1) The battery pack is smaller and 2) the car weights more with hungrier electric motor.
        EV Now
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        Nissan is using their own packs. Not NECs.
          Ziv
          • 4 Years Ago
          @EV Now
          EV Now, Nissan formed a joint venture with NEC that is named the AESC, which in turn builds the Leaf pack, so I don't understand why you say NEC isn't the one building them. I think the Volt pack will probably last longer than a Leaf pack, if only because although the Volt pack will be discharged 85% most days (figure a 32 mile daily drive [38*.85=32] is average 32*365=11,700 miles plus a longer roadtrip every month or two), its full discharge is only 10.9 kWh out of 16 kWh total. A full discharge is still only around 69% of the 16 kWh. But I have to admit that a Leaf will probably be driven less than a Volt since the purchasers of each are a self-selecting group and if a Leaf is only used 25 miles a day it will only be discharging most days to 30-33% of its full capacity, which could mean the Leaf will indeed have 75% of its 75-80 mile AER in 8 years. Maybe. But I kind of doubt it. And once you get the Nissan pack down to 85-90% of its original life, all the discharges will be deeper and deeper as the car gets older, whereas the Volt AER will probably stay the same until near the end of its 8 year warranty. "Nissan LEAF's lithium-ion battery modules are manufactured at the Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) operation in Zama, Japan, which is a joint-venture of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and NEC Corporation." per Nissan press release October 22, 2010 http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/NEWS/2010/_STORY/101022-01-e.html
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        Deep draw has more to do with the BMS than the chemistry. LG is not making the BMS here.
        Spiffster
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        Yeah it would seem that GM is playing very safe being that they only use half of the 16kWh while also employing thermal management to a (apparently) superior battery. One would think they could easily get away with a 12kWh pack and drop a few grand off the price (and nearly match the 2012 LEAF price). Would technically lose the 7500 credit though. It would be cool if GM released an update to allow Volts to travel further on a charge since they still have plenty of room. I think Nissan knows what they are doing, just seems a bit aggressive this early in the game...
          skierpage
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Spiffster
          @q3a7vodk4 , I believe GM has to offer that warranty (and a longer one in California) because the battery is part of the emissions system; battery problems would change the emissions. The Leaf and Roadster don't have any tailpipe emissions, so they don't have this government warranty requirement. As to actual pack life, we'll see.
          EV Now
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Spiffster
          First GM is using much more than half the pack. Second, LG's battery is half a generation older than Nissan's - it won't work without liquid cooling.
          q3a7vodk4
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Spiffster
          Here's the problem. GM like tesla are using laptop battery type chemistries with manganese, cobalt and maybe other components. This has implications beyond what is widely understood. The gold standard battery chemistry for EVs right now is LiFePO4. These batteries have a 3000 cycle life expectation and are VERY safe. They don't cause fires like laptop batteries and they don't require liquid cooling and complex thermal management. Companies like tesla and GM have opted to go with battery chemistries which offer slightly more energy density, so you can go further on less kWh, but have severe tradeoffs. 1. more like a 300 cycle lifetime than a 3000. 2. They can explode and cause fires and are very UNSAFE if not kept under very good thermal management. It's because of this that a car like a tesla *requires* thermal management. Otherwise it explodes and kills you. It's also because of this that I'm willing to bet that a well-used tesla roadster from '08 is going to start showing degraded performance by now. Remember, tesla only offers a 3 year 36k miles warranty on the battery. This is why. Obviously the advantage they received was increased range. I bet this is why GM can get away with such a small battery and still get their 40 mile range.
          q3a7vodk4
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Spiffster
          Oh i forgot to say, GM *needs* that 35% cushion in their battery pack in order to make them last for 8 years. They could not have utilized it without reducing the life of the battery.
          q3a7vodk4
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Spiffster
          Quote: "so you can go further on less kWh, " Sorry that should read "so you can pack more kWh in smaller batteries,"
      Peter
      • 4 Years Ago
      Having headroom for regen is important, but that is developed the minute you drive away from your plug. As you cannot regenerate energy that you didn't put in there in the first place, and regen efficiency is below 50%, it will be rare for you not to have headroom. For a BEV the only argument for headroom wrt regeneration is if your charger is on top of a mountain. The other consideration is that an indicated 100% charge is not a 100% State of Charge as the car manufacturer will limit the use of the pack to a certain percentage of its capacity to limit wear on the electrodes and other chemistry that suffers. Thus even at 100% indicated there is headroom. The argument for not filling up the EV with juice is not about headroom, its about a probable increase in longevity for the battery. Is it a practical increase over the manufacturers longevity calculations when they designed the car? Perhaps. If I owned a Leaf and only needed 40% of the rated capacity I would charge to less than the indicated full.
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