In February 2017, Chinese owned Li-ion battery maker A123 Systems in the USA won a 6.9-billion CNY (US$1 billion) contract to supply 2.6 million Li-ion batteries for 48V systems to the SAIC-GM joint venture in China. The news came from Wanxiang Group in China, the owner of A123 Systems. A123 initially entered into a partnership with SAIC Motor in 2009 when it formed Advanced Traction Battery Systems (ATBS), a battery pack joint venture company. In 2012, the two expanded their partnership. The advent of the first billion dollar orders for pure electric buses in 2015 brought them huge attention from all in the value chain and even the general press. The first billion dollar battery order for these was placed in 2016. To some extent that is also true of upper atmosphere fixed wing drones for military surveillance and beaming the internet to the 4.5 billion people that lack it, though for such energy independent vehicles the batteries are a smaller part of the cost. See the IDTechEx battery and vehicle reports, Mild Hybrid 48V Vehicles 2016-2031, Electric UAV Drones: Autonomous, Energy Independent 2017-2037, Lithium-ion Batteries 2016-2026 and Electric Vehicles Change the World 2017-2037.
Dr Peter Harrop of IDTechEx says, "The electric vehicle and battery industries are in for a white knuckle ride over the next few years with increasing rejection on performance and toxicity of the lead acid battery by designers and lead-hostile laws that add cost. There are now many pure electric and hybrid vehicles that do not even have a lead acid battery for hotel facilities. Meanwhile, adoption of pure electric vehicles by land, water and air is accelerating with increasingly large orders for them and their rapidly changing components, though the reinvention of the lithium-ion battery brings risks too. The 48V story is an interesting one because the large number of announcements of 48V mild hybrids for sale this year relate to ones that do not have pure electric modes, not least because these first offerings rarely having a lithium ion battery larger than 1kWh. However, we believe that later versions will have batteries treble that size and enjoy several pure electric modes making them truly electric vehicles and a more compelling consumer proposition. That is even before the tougher emissions laws kick in making illegal most conventional vehicles and even some of today's full hybrids".
For more information on these topics, attend the IDTechEx Show! which takes place in Berlin on 10 & 11 May, 2017. This show comprises of nine synergistic events, two of which cover electric vehicles and energy storage namely Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing and Energy Storage Innovations. The IDTechEx Show! features over 225 presentations, 200 exhibitors and 3,000 attendees. For the latest attendee offers visit www.IDTechEx.com/Europe