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Lithium battery suppliers counter cost challenges, pursue R&D

Makers of lithium batteries are broadening their lineups to match rising requirements from the automotive sector.

Unfazed by cost issues and technological setbacks, China makers of lithium batteries are strengthening product development to upgrade their selections to reflect the upturn in the automotive sector. The output capacity for the segment is estimated at 2 billion Ah in 2010, buoyed by brisk demand for environment-friendly cars. Recognizing the latter as a growth booster, the government has identified it as one of the National Strategic New Industries.

Under efforts to enhance the segment, manufacturers are working on batteries with a longer life span to lower replacement requests and outlay. They are likewise improving consistency to enhance stability in LiFePO₄, which is sensitive to the synthesis condition. Aside from adopting high-quality raw materials, suppliers target better battery management system for packs to increase product safety.

The development of the local industry, however, remains slow. Many companies have remained reluctant to expand business due to cost concerns.

At present, production expenses range from $900 to $1,000 per kilowatt hour. The rate is higher than the price required to make the variant available in the mainstream, which is $300/kWh for units adopted in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and $150/kWh for EV types.

To help makers deal with the first, the government is encouraging R&D on core materials and production processes. Enterprises are also urged to cooperate with foreign counterparts to improve technological expertise.

China suppliers admit that the widening gap between local and imported models comes from a weak control system and low production efficiency.

The government has also begun updating criterion for assembly interfaces and battery and charger protocols. This could motivate more makers to enter the industry, said Shenzhen LVSUN Electronics Co. Ltd general manager Jianhua Xu.

Another way is to tap the domestic supply of upstream core material and production equipment.

Related article:
Lithium batteries & packs: Li-polymer batteries overtake dominant Li-ion in growth

Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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