Boulder, Colorado – Companies in Japan, Korea and China are leading the U.S. in electric vehicle (EV) battery sales and will continue to do so in the near term, according to a new report by Pike Research.

The EV battery industry is entering a mature phase, with some companies developing products for as long as 15 years. The earliest developments focused on lead-acid and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, but today companies and automakers have standardized on lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries.

The Li-ion EV market is currently led by Japanese and Korean companies that originally produced cells for consumer electronics and computing. These veteran companies are gradually being challenged by companies, primarily from China and North America, that are slowly gaining customers that are mostly in their domestic markets. Pike said that the manufacturers best positioned to take advantage of these market shifts are LG Chem and Johnson Controls.

“Despite significant investment in battery production and technology development in the United States during the past three years, Japanese, Korean and Chinese companies currently lead in global sales of electric vehicle batteries and they are likely to continue doing so in the near term,” said research director John Gartner. “The market will likely see volatility during 2012 as some supplier agreements change hands, and some smaller companies will likely fail or be acquired due to an inability to reach volume production.”

Based on such factors are vision, strategy, partners, geographic reach, market share, product quality and reliability, Pike said that the top ten vendors, in order, are LG Chem, Johnson Controls, GS Yuasa, AESC, A123 Systems, Panasonic Group, SB LiMotive, Hitachi Vehicle Energy, BYD and Electrovaya.