Boom time for batteries

According to a soon-to-be-released report, the US market for large and advanced batteries was worth $2.9 billion in 2003 and is set to reach $4.5 billion in 2008.

According to a soon-to-be-released updated report from Business Communications Company, large and advanced batteries represented a $2.9 billion US market in 2003. Growing at an AAGR (average annual growth rate) of 9.1%, this market is expected to reach $4.5 billion in 2008 making it one of the largest and fastest growing technology-driven electrical/electronic sectors.

Much of this value and growth will be due to hybrid electric vehicles/electric vehicles (HEV/EV) and portable computer sales and development. The HEV/EV battery market is expected to grow at an AAGR of over 50% over the next five years to reach nearly $250 million in 2008. The battery technology dominating this market is currently nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and is expected to continue to do so through 2008. Lithium-ion and lithium polymer technologies are also expected to play an increasing role in this market by 2008, provided that costs can be reduced through volume production.

Portable computers have become one of the fastest growing segments within the computer market segment. Currently estimated at $1,195 million, the US portable computer battery market is expected to grow at an AAGR of 4.5% to reach nearly $1.5 billion by 2008. NiMH battery sales are expected to drop at the benefit of lithium-ion batteries. Lithium polymer will increasingly be used.

The overall stationary market is expected to reach over $760 million by 2008. The largest increase in value will be for UPS (uninterruptible power supply) and smaller remote stationary applications in view of protecting data lost during power outages. For instance, the US UPS battery market is expected to grow from $400 million in 2003 to $560 million by 2008.

The highest value large and advanced battery type is currently non-automotive (not including starting, lighting, ignition applications) lead-acid. Large and advanced lead-acid batteries represent an $881 million US market, with both traction and stationary applications being the largest lead-acid battery market sectors. BCC predicts overall large and advanced lead-acid battery sales growing through 2008 to $1,163 million.

Meanwhile, the large and advanced lithium rechargeable (larger lithium-ion and lithium polymer) battery segment will continue its rapid growth through 2008. Current sales of over $1 billion will balloon to over $1.5 billion in 2008. Thereafter, average annual growth will slow as lithium-ion batteries are replaced by new battery technologies (especially lithium battery technologies like conductive polymer systems). At the same time, per unit cost for lithium batteries will fall as manufacturing and material costs lower.