On numerous occasions in the recent past, reports have stated that lithium-ion and batteries made with this material would be in short supply for the near future. The reasoning behind the shortage is simple, battery makers simply don't have the capacity right now to churn out these batteries at a high rate. Now, a new report states that there will be an overcapacity of lithium-ion batteries by 2014.
According to the report conducted by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants titled "Powertrain 2020: Li-ion batteries - The next bubble ahead?", there could be too many lithium-ion batteries and battery producers by as early as 2014. The report states that the U.S. and Japan have ramped up production so quickly that li-ion capacity could quickly outpace demand. As the report states, there will be "significant overcapacity" between 2014 and 2017.
The downside of overcapacity is that it is likely to drive several smaller battery makers right out of the market. As the report states, only 6 to 8 battery manufacturers will survive beyond 2017. Today there are more than 50 li-ion battery makers.
How much overcapacity will exist? Quoting the report, "Given the announced investments, capacity in 2015 will already reach 200% of the demand projected for 2016. In addition, not all investments have been announced; as-yet unknown investments by key players will lead to further overcapacity, and national subsidies will stimulate even more investments."
That amount of overcapacity is significant, but will be non-existent if electric vehicle take the market by storm. It is still anyone guess how it will turn out, but this is one of the first reports to hint at over rather than under capacity.
Source: Green Car Congress