Despite being only 30% finished, Tesla’s lithium-ion Gigafactory has rumbled into life proving the US can go head-to-head with Asia’s battery making industry.
Mass production of 2170 cells for Tesla’s Powerwall range of energy storage systems began last week, with Model 3 cell production set to follow in Q2 of this year.
After securing its first ESS deal in the US, Swiss firm Leclanché has almost immediately forged an Asian alliance for the low-cost manufacture and development of its Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) and Lithium Graphite/NMC (GNMC) batteries.
The European ESS company has formed a strategic partnership with Chinese lead-acid and lithium-ion battery manufacturer Narada Power Source.
Intellectual Property licensing and commercialisation company Marathon Patent Group aims to expand its Asia operations after securing 40 electrode patents.
The US firm’s wholly owned subsidiary Traverse Technologies acquired a portfolio of around 40 worldwide patents from CPT IP Holdings, LLC.
Competition between Asia’s big battery makers has seen lithium-ion become the dominant technology for large-scale energy storage systems in the past six years.
Underpinning the rise is cost reductions and a build-up of the auto and power sectors’ supply chain as competition between China's BYD, GCL, South Korea's Samsung SDI, LG Chem and Japan's Panasonic intensifies, according to a report by analytics firm IHS Technology.
With more than 150MWs of energy storage deployed in the US last year two Asian firms are hoping to take a slice of the lucrative market.
Korean electrical components manufacturer LSIS secured its first UL certification for its 1MW ESS, and then met the IEEE 1547 standard— both are required to launch a product in the US.
French battery manufacturer Saft is set to double its primary lithium cell production in China to meet growing demand in the Asian markets.
Saft has invested €5million ($5.6million) in the new Zhuhai site in order to double production capacity to 60 million cells per year by Q3 2016.
Given his penchant for teasing and baiting interest for new products via social media, it was interesting to see Elon Musk’s latest hint at new Gigafactories outside the US.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla— which is in the midst of building a Gigafactory in Nevada, US— commented that given ‘high’ local demand, Gigafactories in India, China and Europe would ‘make sense in the long term’.
Battery supplier Saft’s emergence as a key player in Asia’s trainset market continues at full steam after the French firm signed two deals to provide nickel-cadmium batteries.
The first deal to provide 156 SRM+ rail batteries was awarded by CNR Changchun, China’s state-owned rolling stock manufacturer.