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EV batteries

LG Chem, China’s CATL neck and neck in race for top battery player’s spot

Nov 29, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Race for top EV battery player's spot is getting fierce.
Race for top EV battery player's spot is getting fierce.

Global competition for the world’s top spot for the manufacture of electric-vehicle batteries is getting fiercer as major players in South Korea, China and Japan are engaged in a close race to lead the global market.

According to market research firm SNE Research on Nov. 28, China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) emerged as the world’s top EV battery supplier with 19.2 GWh capacity, accounting for 23.1% of the global market in the first nine months of the year.

Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. came in second with 18.9 GWh, or 22.9% of the global market, followed by Japan’s Panasonic Corp., whose market share stood at 21.2% with 17.6 GWh. Korea’s two other EV battery makers -- Samsung SDI Co. and SK Innovation Co. -- ranked fourth and fifth with 5.1 GWh (6.2%) and 4.6 GWh (5.5%), respectively.

The global EV battery market has been dominated by the top three players for years.

The top two players’ rankings have been reversed from last month when SNE said LG Chem maintained its market lead in the eight-month period of the year.

CATL was the market leader between 2017 and 2019 on the back of strong Chinese government support to nurture its local EV battery makers. Beijing recently announced that it will extend state subsidies to its battery makers until the end of 2022. Such subsidies were scheduled to be phased out by the end of 2020.

Researchers at LG Chem.
Researchers at LG Chem.

EUROPE, NEXT BATTLEGROUND FOR TOP PLAYERS

But LG Chem took the global lead early this year by expanding its presence in Europe.

CATL, which takes up 50-60% of the Chinese battery market, also aims to increase its share of the European market by building a plant in Germany and forging a partnership with Daimler AG.

Meanwhile, LG Chem has been chosen as the sole supplier of EV batteries for Tesla Inc’s latest mid-size SUV Model Y to be manufactured in China as part of its efforts to grow in the world’s biggest electric-car market.

“With the planned launch of several new EV models by global automakers, the competition among battery suppliers will be fiercer next year,” said a local battery industry official.

In late October, LG Chem shareholders approved a company plan to spin off the company’s battery unit as a subsidiary to carve out value as global EV demand increases rapidly.

The standalone entity, LG Energy Solution, will launch on Dec. 1.

Write to Man-Su Choe at bebop@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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