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Posted on March 15, 2016 by Dr Peter Harrop

Lithium-ion battery famine will favour new powertrain

Autonomous Vehicles Land, Water, Air 2017-2037
We have had a feast of lithium-ion batteries as the number of manufacturers has doubled to 200 and pure electric cars have been late in arriving. Now that will change even with the gigafactories. One megawatt hour lithium-ion batteries are appearing in ships and big ones in boats where previously there were none. The Boeing Dreamliner has them as a new addition to aircraft electrics. Kokam's 56 megawatt grid energy storage project just announced features the world's largest lithium NMC energy storage system for frequency regulation. Above all, new strong hybrid and pure electric vehicles of the size of a car and above almost always feature lithium-ion batteries with buses being the main market for them recently and now cars.
 
If we have a shortage of supply of lithium-ion batteries in coming years as big new applications widen to photovoltaic supply smoothing on the walls of houses and so on then the first thing to be suffering will be the biggest application, cars. Post-lithium-ion batteries are coming along but they may not be ready for mass production in time. Most are projected to be in high volume production no earlier than ten years from now. Coming to the rescue may therefore be the new 48V mild hybrid vehicles being favoured. Paradoxically, although these add a lithium-ion battery in most cases, it is the less lithium choice because that battery is only around the size and weight of the lead acid battery it sits alongside and eventually replaces. Batteries in plug-in strong hybrids and pure electric vehicles are much larger.
 
Electric Vehicle Energy Harvesting/Regeneration 20
In the forthcoming new IDTechEx report, "Future Powertrains 2016-2036" looks at these things. Even more on specifically 48V mild hybrids is in the IDTechEx report, Mild Hybrid 48V Vehicles 2016-2031 External Link, including why, so far, most OEMs are negative about advanced lead acid batteries replacing lithium-ion in such applications, though they must surely find some place at the low cost vehicle end. For those wanting more on batteries to follow lithium-ion, IDTechEx has the report, Advanced and Post Lithium-ion Batteries 2016-2026: Technologies, Markets, Forecasts External Link and there is a report on, Lithium-ion Batteries for Electric Buses External Link. The forthcoming IDTechEx Show! External Link in Berlin, April 27-28 has conferences, exhibition stands and masterclasses relevant to all of this. There will be 170+ exhibitors and 2500+ paying delegates - www.IDTechEx.com/ElectricVehiclesEurope External Link.
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing. Europe 2017 External Link on 10 - 11 May 2017 in Berlin, Germany hosted by IDTechEx.