Tesla and its battery cell provider Panasonic have taken the number one ranking in the latest Bloomberg New Energy Finance tally of tier 1 lithium-ion battery cell makers.
The list – based on contracted or commissioned capacity, and for the 2016-17 year – was published by BNEF on Thursday. The rankings are restricted to those who have provided more than 2GWh of own-manufacture cells to some combination of the top 10 electric vehicle manufacturers in the world by volume.
As the table above shows, Panasonic/Tesla tops the list, even though Tesla ranks only second on the list of EV sales by volume (see table below).
That is because of the battery size. The Tesla batteries are at least 75kWh, and up to 100kWh, while many models of electric vehicles and hybrid cars are considerably smaller.
BNEF analyst Logan Goldie-Scot told RenewEconomy that one of the interest aspects of the battery supplier table was its dominance by Chinese companies – BYD, AESC, and CATL.
It is CATL – Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited – which is attracting all the attention, however, having trebled its price since its stock market listing earlier this month. It is now valued at more than $US24 billion.
“It is pretty remarkable,” Goldie-Scot says, noting that CATL now has supply contracts with 22 different electric vehicle manufacturers, including BMW, VW, and Daimler in Europe, and Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Hyundai in Asia.
“It’s not just a Chinese story for CATL,” Logie-Scot says.
And this is just the start. Logie-Scot says that the number of EV models has more than doubled from 79 in 2015 to 198 now, and will rise to around 300 by 2022.
“We have seen a significant ramp up in battery manufacturing capacity over the last couple of years, and you are seeing that scale and that investment now translating into actual sales,” he says.
“You are seeing not only the total number vehicles sold increasing, but also a much greater number of different models on the market.”
To anticipate that, Chinese companies have built see 274GWh of cell manufacturing capacity. “That has implications, and the need for scale, for battery components and raw materials. It has important implications for lithium and cobalt producers.”