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Domestic firms top EV battery installations

By LIU YUKUN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-08 09:03
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A visitor checks out an array of Qilin batteries at CATL's booth during a trade fair in Xiamen, Fujian province, in September. [PHOTO/CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

With the electric vehicle battery installation growing globally despite a slowdown in EV sales, Chinese battery makers have gained a larger footprint in the sector in the first ten months of this year.

Experts said a supply surplus in the lithium carbonate industry drove down prices of raw materials, benefiting battery makers and buoying the EV sector.

China's battery firms are poised to grow further amid ongoing price declines and advancements in technology, they added.

According to global consultancy SNE Research, the global installation of EV batteries reached about 552.2 gigawatt-hours in the first 10 months, marking a 44 percent increase compared to the same period last year, and overtaking the total of 2022.

Six out of the top 10 battery makers in terms of installed capacity are Chinese, with their market share taking up 63.3 percent of the global total, a slight increase of 0.4 percentage point from the January-September period, and a 4.5-percentage-point increase from the same period last year, the consultancy said.

"China's supply chain of EV batteries has advantages in production costs, capacity, technological innovation and high-quality services, making it competitive among fiercer global competition as the EV market slows," said Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.

UBS Securities recently lowered its projection for global EV sales. The firm previously anticipated EVs would constitute 20 percent of global new car sales by 2024 and an increase to 54 percent by 2030. However, its latest forecasts show that at 18 percent and 47 percent, respectively, citing the current slowdown in EV sales in Europe and North America.

Tightened market demand for EVs appears to have limited influence on major Chinese EV battery makers.

According to SNE Research, Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd topped the installation list with a battery installation of 203.8 gigawatt-hours in the first 10 months, growing by 51.1 percent year-on-year.

CATL secured a market share of 36.9 percent, a marginal increase of 0.1 percentage point from the January-September period. CATL still leads globally as it is the only battery supplier with a market share of more than 35 percent, the consultancy said.

Leveraging the global trend of increased adoption of lithium iron phosphate batteries, CATL's installation figure outside China has nearly doubled compared to the same period last year, SNE said.

Another Chinese battery giant, EVE Energy Co Ltd, demonstrated triple-digit growth, with its battery installations reaching 11.7 GWh from January to October, a 128.1 percent increase year-on-year.

Wang Lei, an analyst of new energy at a research institute under China Post Securities, said the drop in raw material prices, resulting from an imbalance in the supply-demand scenario and fierce competition in the upstream lithium industry, has brought many benefits to battery makers.

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