After years of disappointment, the EV market is ready to grow, predicts Prabhakar Patil, CEO of LG Chem Power, and the Korean battery maker means to be one of the top players.
“We expect to have a 25 percent share [of the global battery market],” Patil told Automotive News. “We know that we will be producing batteries for several automakers that we’re talking with.”
The US battery industry suffers from chronic overcapacity, says Patil, including LG Chem’s Michigan plant, which is operating at 25 to 30 percent of capacity. Generally speaking, plants need to operate at 80 percent to break even, says he. “Unfortunately, the hype about the growth of electric vehicles created unrealistic expectations, which make EVs look like a failure. But it’s actually the other way around.”
Patil sees no replacement for lithium-ion batteries any time soon. “We’ll have lithium-ion for at least the next 10 to 15 years. Before you put anything on the road, you need five years to validate your technology. So if you want to have a proven technology by 2020, you need to solve all issues in the lab by 2015. I don’t see anything in anybody’s closet that is ready for that.”
Patil acknowledged Tesla’s role as a trendsetter, saying, “I hope they are successful because it would benefit everybody. Tesla has shaken up the image of EVs and made it a product that people want to have. But their sales goal of 500,000 EVs – that remains a question mark.”
Source: Automotive News