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Global market for large-format, rechargeable, lithium batteries for transportation to cross $330 million by 2014


Low-cost, long-life lithium batteries are seen as essential for accelerated development of alternative power vehicles, ranging from the now familiar gasoline-electric hybrids that double normal fuel economy to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that use no petroleum.


Efficient energy storage systems for hybrid drives will acquire increasing significance in the future. It is precisely storage systems such as lithium-ion technology that will greatly affect the performance and costs of hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. Preferably, small and light systems with a simultaneously high capacity for charging and discharging are required. Besides increasing the performance, the development work centers on the service life of the battery systems in various drive cycles and temperature ranges.


According to a latest study from iRAP, Inc., Large-Format Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Batteries for Electric Energy Storage in Transport–Types, Applications, New Developments, Industry Structure and Global Markets, the global market for large-format, rechargeable, lithium batteries used in the transport sector is estimated at $77 million in 2009. In spite of the recession, iRAP estimates the market to reach $332 million in 2014, for an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 33.9%. Midway through the projection period, it is estimated that Li-ion batteries for HEVs, PHEVs and EVs will be in wider use, thereby providing a large growth rate. 


Customized batteries for off-road vehicles and industrial vehicles such as electric fork lifts, golf carts and motorized wheel chairs, will have highest market share, reaching 51.9% of the market in 2009; by 2014, this share will decrease to 15%. In 2014, large-format lithium batteries for HEVs, PHEVs and EVs will have a 26.6% share of the global market, at $87 million.


Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and electric cars need more robust lithium batteries than conventional hybrids, because the batteries undergo a more severe duty cycle, charged to the brim and then nearly drained. Today’s large-format, rechargeable lithium batteries have a modular embedded micro-controller battery management system (BMS), with thousands of lithium cells connected in-loop to take care of proprietary safety, state-of-charge, state-of-health, balancing and diagnostics algorithms, which together serve to maximize the utility and reliability of  systems solutions. They also have a variety of available communications interfaces (CAN, J1939, RS-232, etc.) to facilitate the seamless integration of the battery into the vehicle system.


MARKET for large-format, rechargeable lithium batteries by type of vehicle, through 2014
($ millions)


Vehicle Type





Heavy duty hybrid electric vehicles

(trucks, buses, train carriages, utility vehicles)







Off-road vehicles and  industrial vehicles, e.g., electric fork lifts, golf carts, motorized wheel chairs







LEVs, e.g., Ebikes and scooters




Others (HEV, PHEV, etc.)









Notes: (#) Lithium batteries in vehicles are in fleet testing stage; commercialization of vehicles fitted with lithium batteries will start in early 2010.



MARKET FOR large-format, rechargeable lithium batteries by type of vehicles used, 2009 and 2014 ($ million)

Source: iRAP, Inc.
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