The rapid expansion of the new energy vehicle market has also made the power battery track continue to heat up. Recently, market research data shows that the installed capacity of power batteries in the world has increased significantly from 59GWh in 2017 to 517.9GWh in 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 54%, and it is expected to further increase to 749GWh in 2023.
1. Chinese batteries take nearly 70% of the power battery market
In recent years, in the global competition pattern of power batteries, China, Japan and South Korea have been showing a three-point situation. However, as the global new energy vehicle industry chain continues to change, the competition pattern of the power battery market is mainly dominated by China and South Korea in recent years, and now Chinese companies are even more dominant. In the list of the top ten global power battery installed capacity in 2022, Chinese companies accounted for 6 seats, Korean companies accounted for 3 seats, and Japanese companies accounted for 1 seat.
As one of the leading power battery companies in the world, CATL's share in the global power battery market will increase from 33% in 2021 to 37% in 2022, with a fault advantage. This is mainly due to the rapid growth of China's new energy vehicle market in recent years, and CATL has won a large number of high-end customers. The second-tier manufacturers of power batteries in China are more competitive. Among them, the installed capacity of CALB will increase from 8GWh in 2021 to 20GWh, further narrowing the gap with Korean battery companies Samsung SDI and SK On.
Gotion Hi-Tech broke through the 10GWh mark for the first time; both Sunwoda and Farasis more than tripled their installed capacity and squeezed into the top ten of the list. With the decline in the market share of Japanese and South Korean batteries, their main overseas markets either have a slowdown in growth rate or a small scale, which is not enough to support them to compete with Chinese battery companies.
2. Lithium batteries become a new growth point for exports
In response to the rapidly changing competitive landscape of the global power battery market, professionals said: Under the technical conditions of this generation of lithium-ion batteries, the market share of Chinese battery manufacturers is expected to continue to increase, and even if it does not increase, it will remain at the current level. China's electric vehicle sales account for more than half of the world's sales, and most of the batteries are supplied by Chinese battery companies.
The supply of overseas battery manufacturers is relatively small. This is the main reason for the high installed capacity of Chinese battery manufacturers. Another reason is that with the blowout of China's new energy vehicle exports, the export of power batteries is also on the rise. Overall, the market share of Chinese battery manufacturers will likely continue to rise. Chinese car companies have started exporting new energy vehicles one after another.
These Chinese auto brands are expected to further explore overseas markets such as Europe and Southeast Asia through the advantages of a complete new energy vehicle supply chain in the local market. In this way, the scale of overseas deployment of Chinese power battery manufacturers will become larger and larger.
Relevant reports point out that from 2017 to 2020, China's lithium battery including lfp battery, ternary lithium battery exports will grow steadily at an annual rate of 20% to 35%. In 2021 and 2022, they will usher in explosive growth of 66.5% and 86.7%, respectively. Behind this is the continuous improvement of the influence of Chinese head battery companies.
3. Leading battery companies scramble to lock up mine resources to keep supply
It is worth noting that, corresponding to the substantial increase in lithium battery exports, China's imports of battery raw materials lithium concentrate and lithium carbonate will also increase significantly in 2022. According to customs data, China will import about 2.84 million tons of lithium concentrate in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 42%, mainly from Australia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Canada and other countries.
Lithium carbonate imports reached 136,000 tons, a year-on-year increase of 68%. It is predicted that the continued expansion of China's lithium battery production capacity will continue to drive the increase in demand for raw materials.
From 2023 to 2032, China's lithium carbonate imports will continue to grow. The huge market demand has driven the price of raw materials to continue to rise. In 2022, the price of lithium carbonate will be high, even breaking through 600,000 RMB/ton at one point. Both battery manufacturers and vehicle manufacturers are feeling the pressure, while upstream raw material miners are making a lot of money, and some companies even achieve a net profit increase of hundreds of times in 2022.
In order to alleviate cost pressure and ensure future supply, even OEMs have joined the ranks of grabbing mines, not to mention battery manufacturers, who have taken action to lock up upstream mineral resources. On December 7, 2022, Sunwoda signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Yichun Municipal Government to invest in projects such as lithium salts, lithium battery materials, and lithium battery recycling. Overseas manufacturers such as LG New Energy and Samsung SDI focus on the long-term procurement of lithium salt.
4. China, Japan and South Korea battery competition in overseas markets
Battery manufacturers rushing to mine are also laying the foundation for capacity expansion. At present, the capacity expansion of battery manufacturers in China, Japan and South Korea has not been limited to their respective local markets, but has gone global, especially in Europe and the United States, which has become the focus of many battery manufacturers. It is worth mentioning that in the Chinese market, Japanese and Korean head battery companies have basically lost the confidence and ability to compete with local Chinese companies.
As China's power batteries accelerate to "go overseas", overseas markets will become the main battlefield for battery companies in China, Japan and South Korea to compete. As a battery supplier for Tesla, GM and other car companies, LG Solution said not long ago that the company's revenue this year is expected to grow, given that demand for electric vehicle batteries in North America is likely to remain strong this year.
As for SK On, it is cooperating with Hyundai Motor and Ford Motor to build a joint venture battery factory in the United States; Samsung SDI is cooperating with Stellantis to build a local factory in the United States and strengthening cooperation with BMW. As for the Chinese manufacturer Envision Power, it will also build a new battery factory in the United States for BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Compared with the uncertainty of the North American market, the pattern of the European market is clearer. LG Solution, Samsung SDI and SK On have all set up more than one battery factory in Europe and are constantly expanding their production capacity. Following the three Korean companies, Chinese battery companies have also made efforts in the European market in recent years. For example, CATL has built battery factories in Germany and Hungary, and SVOLT and GOTION HIGH-TECH have built or are building battery factories in Germany.
In addition to Europe and the United States, Asia is also a hot spot for battery manufacturers to invest. For example, Ningde Times, LG New Energy, and SK On have built factories in Indonesia, and Samsung SDI and EVE have successively built factories in Malaysia.