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It will come as no surprise to regular readers of AutoblogGreen that there are a ton of hybrid and electric vehicles scheduled to show up on the market over the next few years. All of these machines will share one major component: batteries. According to a study by The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm, the worldwide demand for the materials needed to produce these batteries will rise to $22.8 billion – a 3.9-percent increase – by the year 2012.

Most of the demand will be for lithium- and nickel-based batteries, with older technologies like lead acid, zinc-carbon and nickel-cadmium actually decreasing as a result. Not surprisingly, China, which is the largest producer of batteries in the world, will account for the greatest growth. See the full press release after the break.

[Source: Freedonia Group via EV World]


World Demand for Battery Materials Forecast to Hit $22.8 Billion by 2012

SYNOPSIS: Gains will be driven by strong growth in the production of lithium ion (Li-Ion) and nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries.

World demand for materials used in the manufacture of batteries will rise 3.9 percent per year to $22.8 billion in 2012. Gains will be driven by strong growth in the production of lithium ion (Li-Ion) and nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries, which are increasingly being used in consumer electronics and motor vehicles. Additionally, rising income levels in the developed world will fuel demand for materials in alkaline and lithium consumer batteries. However, gains for battery materials will be limited by a less favorable outlook for more mature and outdated battery types, particularly zinc-carbon cells, but also lead-acid and nickel-cadmium chemistries. The price of many battery materials spiked from 2005 to 2007, particularly metals and polymers. These prices are expected to moderate going forward, depressing value gains for materials. These and other trends, including market share and product segmentation, are presented in World Battery Materials, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Metals will continue to be the leading battery material product type through 2012, comprising well over half of total demand. However, advances will be restrained by an expected sharp decline in the price of lead metal, which accounted for the overwhelming majority of demand worldwide. Fastest growth for metal materials will be found in smaller-volume products used in advanced batteries, including lithium and rare earth metals. Chemical materials will see the fastest gains of any material type, with robust demand for high-value lithium and nickel chemicals fueled by rising production of Li-Ion and Ni-MH batteries. A major shift is underway in the market for lithium chemicals, as batterymakers seek to reduce the cobalt content of Li-Ion cathode materials, spurring demand for products such as lithium iron phosphate and lithium mixed-metal compounds. Gains for manganese chemicals will also benefit from rising production of alkaline batteries, particularly in the developing world.

Among the major world regions, the most rapid growth in battery materials demand will be seen in Asia. Most of the gains will be centered in China, which has grown to become the largest battery materials market in the world. India, Indonesia and South Korea are also expected to see above-average advances in materials demand.

Demand for battery materials in North America and Western Europe will see much less favorable prospects through 2012, due to maturing local markets for batteries and an expected drop in the price of lead, a key material in the regions' markets. However, there are opportunities for growth in areas such as advanced rechargeable cells, as domestic production of batteries for hybrid/electric vehicles is beginning to be established in these regions.

The Freedonia Group is a leading international business research company, founded in 1985, that publishes more than 100 industry research studies annually. This industry analysis provides an unbiased outlook and a reliable assessment of an industry and includes product segmentation and demand forecasts, industry trends, demand history, threats and opportunities, competitive strategies, market share determinations and company profiles.

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