Germany’s secondary lead battery production fell for the second year in a row, according to the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI).
As well as lead battery manufacturing falling 3% year-on-year (YoY) to €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) last year, imports also slumped to a three-year low as the market slipped 8% to €940 million ($1 billion), reported the association.
This was despite Germany’s overall battery market rising to €4.2 billion ($4.7 billion), of which lithium-ion had a market share of €1.6 billion ($1.8 billion), an eightfold increase since 2013.
However, despite a drop in lead battery manufacturing, the country exported 2% more secondary lead batteries YoY in 2019— returning to the €1.5 billion worth of sales recorded in 2017 following a 1% slump in 2018, reported ZVEI.
Christian Eckert, head of ZVEI’s battery unit, said he believed the weakness of the lead battery market was temporary and the technology’s proven worth in back-up power applications would help it bounce back.
He told BEST: “Regarding lead-acid batteries we see that for various applications lead-acid batteries are still the best choice (e.g. starter batteries, uninterruptible power supply).
“That means that also in the next years there will be a stable demand. About the market development in the future we can’t make any estimation in detail.”
While Germany’s lead market floundered, its lithium-ion market grew by 17% last year. The market for other battery systems including zinc-air batteries, lithium button cells and nickel-cadmium batteries grew by 40%, to €1.7 billion ($1.9 billion).
Despite a number of lithium-ion gigafactories being built or already commissioned in Europe— including Tesvolt beginning semi-automated production of its lithium-ion systems in Wittenberg, Germany in April — ZVEI said that most lithium-ion cells were imported from Asia.
The imported lithium-ion cells are then turned into final battery products in Germany.
Last month, BEST reported German lead battery manufacturer Akkumulatorenfabrik Moll had entered exploratory discussions with potential investors after the COVID-19 pandemic caused a fall in sales that led to the 75-year-old firm opening insolvency proceedings.