High demand from electric vehicles will fuel the growth of 21700 lithium-ion batteries in 2020, according to market research firms.
According to B3 and EV Volumes Friday, over 2 billion cells of 21700 batteries are expected to be shipped this year, a 25% increase from 2019.
21700 batteries will account for 24% of total cylinder batteries shipped this year, they said.
In the mid- to long-term, it seems certain that 21700 batteries __ which are 21mm in diameter and 70mm in length __ will replace the smaller 18650 batteries, which has a diameter of 18mm and length of 65mm.
The growth in electric vehicles is a direct contributor __ market leader Tesla uses 21700 batteries for its electric vehicles. The company sold 88,461 electric vehicles in the first quarter of the year, a significant lead over Volkswagen’s 60,721 units and 55,866 units moved by the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance.
The battery type is also popular in ESS, e-scooters and wireless cleaners, among others fast-growing markets.
Samsung SDI is thought to have an annual production capacity of 1.8 billion cells for cylinder batteries, and is the leader in the area. The company was producing 10 million cells a month at its new line in its plant in Tianjin, China. It was in talks for a supply deal with Xiaopeng Motors.
Samsung makes 21700 batteries using nickel-cobalt-gallium, with nickel accounting for over 80% of the mix.
Rival LG Chem also produces them at its factory in Nanjing, and has doubled its production capacity this year compared to 2018, people familiar with the matter said. The company has won orders from Tesla and Lucid Motors.
LG has previously used NCM622, which mixes nickel, cobalt and manganese at a 6 to 2 to 2 ratio for its 21700 batteries.
But the company has shifted it in 2019 to NCM811, where nickel, cobalt and manganese are mixed at a ratio of 8 to 1 to 1.