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Korean firms fight for slice of Chinese EV market

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 15:15 -- Paul Crompton
Korean firms fight for slice of Chinese EV market

Just as Korean battery maker Samsung SDI claimed to be the first ‘top’ battery manufacturer to open an EV battery plant in China, competitor LG Chem says it has finished building a plant of its own.

Samsung says it has kicked off operations at its plant in Xi’an, central China, where it aims to produce 40,000 batteries a year. Further east, in Nanjing, LG Chem’s factory will churn out 50,000, the manufacturer claims.

Where LG Chem says it already has 16 local customers, including China’s top three automakers—Shanghai Automotive Group, Dongfeng Motor Group and the FAW Group—Samsung has only confirmed bus manufacturer Yutong and vehicle maker Foton.

In August, undisputed EV battery market leader Panasonic shut down a lithium-ion battery factory in Beijing, saying it wanted to concentrate on EV batteries—but the Japanese company has not reported any plans to do this in China.

The latest forecast by market research firm B3 showed that sales of electric vehicles in China grew more than five times to about 80,000 units in 2014, with the number projected to surge to 240,000 units next year.

The firm says the global market for EVs is forecast to reach 7.7 million vehicles by 2020, compared with 2.1 million in 2014.