In the last few years, automakers have shifted from nickel-metal hydride batteries to lithium-ion batteries.
This shift represents a major endorsement of Li-ion chemistry and its ability to perform consistently in an automotive environment.
According to a recent report from Navigant Research, total worldwide capacity of lithium-ion batteries for transportation applications will increase more than ten-fold, from 4,400 megawatt-hours (MWh) in 2013 to nearly 49,000 MWh by 2020.
The market for lithium-ion batteries will primarily be driven by the growth of battery electric vehicles, as they utilize much larger battery packs than plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Today’s BEVs use battery packs ranging from 16 kWh to 85 kWh, compared to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that typically use packs ranging from 4 kWh to 16 kWh.
Additionally, many recently introduced hybrid vehicles, such as the Honda Civic Hybrid, use lithium-ion batteries, and the percentage of hybrids using lithium-ion technology is expected to grow steadily as automakers update their models.[source: Navigant Research]