Lithium battery worldwide revenues have doubled from $10 billion in 2009 to over $20 billion in three short years. Current estimates indicate that lithium battery manufacturers have geared up to capacity of $30 billion in batteries by 2015. Although lithium batteries are most known for their use in electric vehicles or lap top computers, yet the highest growth is expected to be in the stationary power and energy storage industry.
Electric vehicle market is benefitting from the lower lithium battery cost due to rapid growth in large energy storage system installations worldwide. In addition new markets such as cell towers, backup generator systems, and energy storage systems are rapidly replacing diesel powered generators and/or lead acid batteries with lithium battery packs.
Automotive EV manufacturer such as Balqon Corporation have quickly added energy storage to their product offerings, taking advantage of the cost parity of lithium batteries with lead acid batteries. New revenue streams generated utilizes existing electric vehicle experiences in the power management, inverter technology, and charging and battery management systems to stationary energy storage systems.
Earlier this year Balqon Corporation installed a 1.1 mWh system at University of Riverside demonstrating its expertise in the energy storage sector. Last month the company also received an order for $630,000 from Port of Los Angeles to replace lead acid batteries with lithium batteries and also began shipment of 30 kWh lithium battery systems for mobile cell towers in USA, South Africa, Australia, India and Bangladesh. While Balqon is creating strategic partnerships with automotive OEM’s in Asia and Europe it is at the same time seeking strategic partnerships in the renewable energy markets to develop new markets for its core technologies.
Lithium batteries have three times the life of an equivalent sealed lead acid battery and five times charge and discharge rates, key features for energy storage markets. With industrial sector products like forklifts, utility vehicles, UPS systems, golf carts and airport equipment manufacturers eagerly integrating lithium batteries into their product lines, replacing lead acid batteries, there is a a whole new revenue stream for EV manufacturers to explore during the next few years.
Where adoption of electric vehicles might still be in its infancy, lithium batteries are an efficiency multiplier for the energy storage markets. Battery manufacturers in United States have struggled to maintain cost competitiveness with their Asian competitors in this battery commodity market, it maybe that electric vehicle manufacturer lead the effort and take advantage of this opportunity in the energy storage market.