Boulder, Colorado – The combined market for lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles will soar from US$2.0 billion worldwide in 2011 to more than $14.6 billion by 2017, according to market intelligence firm Pike Research.

Plug-in electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles will rely almost exclusively on lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, while hybrid electric vehicles will slowly switch from their current nickel-metal hydride battery technologies.

Pike also forecasts that capacity shipments of Li-ion batteries for the transportation market will increase from 2.5 million kilowatt hours to nearly 28.0 million during the same period.

“The government subsidies that gave the initial impetus to the electric vehicle market will continue to drive the market in the near term,” said research director John Gartner. “However, significant reductions in battery cost are imperative for the industry to grow to its target levels. While the cost of lithium-ion batteries is gradually declining, cost still represents a significant hurdle as it accounts for a large portion of total (electric vehicle) cost.”

Gartner added that there are currently more than half a dozen battery chemistries being commercialized that have unique properties for power, energy density and life cycle performance. While Pike Research believes that trade-offs in their various properties will result in no single chemistry emerging as the clear winner, initial indications point to a greater interest in lithium iron phosphate chemistry in the coming years, due to superior performance characteristics and increased safety.

Nearly half the demand for Li-ion batteries will likely come from Asia, led primarily by China, while Europe will likely constitute 25 per cent and the United States 21 per cent shares of the world market.

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