The overall market for energy storage technologies that power electric cars is set to grow from $13 billion in 2011 to $30 billion in 2016, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18%.
But, while prominent plug-in passenger cars like the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF grab most of the headlines, the bulk of future growth will be driven by more humble vehicles, such as e-bikes and micro-hybrids, the report says.
Titled “Small Batteries, Big Sales: The Unlikely Winners in the Electric Vehicle Market,” the report offers a reality check on the hype surrounding batteries for electric passenger cars by looking at the overall market for electric vehicles. Specifically, it provides both a bottom-up analysis of the potential for storage technologies, including batteries, supercapacitors, and fuel cells, as well as a top-down analysis of the demand generated for these technologies by different vehicle types, including e-bikes, passenger vehicles, buses and trains.
Among the report’s key findings:
• Micro-hybrids offer auto OEMs the shortest road to improved fuel efficiency. Micro-hybrids, which apply energy storage only toward start-stop and/or regenerative braking applications, require neither the drastic redesigns nor the more expensive battery costs that all-electric or hybrid electric vehicles do. Thus, they are set to surpass these other passenger vehicle types in terms of both total storage and dollars in 2016, growing from 5.1 GWh and $495 million, to 41 GWh and $3.1 billion – CAGRs of 52% and 44%, respectively.
• E-bikes pack minimal storage but compensate with sheer volume. Although their 0.4 kWh to 1.0 kWh of storage is a far cry from the Nissan Leaf’s 24-kWh battery pack, e-bikes will continue to dominate the overall market in terms of dollars and MWh. Replacement batteries for the currently deployed base – largely in China – plus strong growth in new sales will drive growth from 84.2 GWh and $12.0 billion in 2011, to 156.6 GWh and $24.3 billion in 2016, a CAGR of 13% in kWh and 15% in dollars.
• Advanced lead-acid batteries dominate the current and future storage market. While Li-ion technology will eat into lead-acid sales for e-bikes, and supercapacitors will steal share in micro-hybrids, lead-acid will maintain a comfortable lead in both of these high-volume and growing markets. Overall, the market for lead-acid batteries will grow from 83 GWh and $9.4 billion in 2011, to 165 GWh and $16.1 billion in 2016, CAGRs of 15% and 12%, respectively.