China Will Do to Battery Prices what They Did to Solar Prices

July 3, 2017


In early 2000s, Germany adopted policies encouraging adoption of solar/renewable energy.
Policies were much more successful than imagined, sparking demand bigger than German industry could fill.
China, seeing opportunity, ramped up production.

Solar PV prices crashed globally. Leading to current explosion in deployment and near-monthly new low-cost records.

Same about to happen with Li-On batteries.

Actually, I think Elon will be fine with this.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance:

As Elon Musk races to finish building the world’s biggest battery factory in the Nevada desert, China is poised to leave him in the dust.

Chinese companies have plans for additional factories with the capacity to pump out more than 120 gigawatt-hours a year by 2021, according to a report published this week by Bloomberg Intelligence. That’s enough to supply batteries for around 1.5 million Tesla Model S vehicles or 13.7 million Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrids per year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

By comparison, when completed in 2018, Tesla Inc.’s Gigafactory will crank out up to 35 gigawatt-hours of battery cells annually.

Lithium-ion batteries have long been used in smartphones, laptops, and other personal electronics, but demand is forecast to explode in the next five years as electric vehicles proliferate and power companies install giant storage systems to smooth the ebb and flow of wind and solar.

Telsa produced nearly 84,000 vehicles in 2016 and has said it plans to make 500,000 in 2018.


While Tesla may be building the biggest and splashiest factory, the Chinese government has launched a sweeping effort to increase the country’s dominant market share.

Roughly 55 percent of global lithium-ion battery production is already based in China, compared with 10 percent in the U.S. By 2021, China’s share is forecast to grow to 65 percent, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“This is about industrial policy. The Chinese government sees lithium-ion batteries as a hugely important industry in the 2020s and beyond,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Colin McKerracher said.

In all, global battery-making capacity is forecast to more than double by 2021 to 273 gigawatt-hours, up from about 103 gigawatt-hours today. That’s a huge opportunity, and China doesn’t want to miss it.

“The Gigafactory announced three years ago sparked a global battery arms race,” said Simon Moores, a managing director at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. “China is making a big push.”

UPDATE: New Battery design Claimed better than Tesla, below:


The Alta Redshift MX electric motorcycle is designed to compete successfully against the best off-road bikes in the world. To do that, it needs a great battery that is both powerful and light in weight. Even though it begins with the same 18650 lithium ion battery cells as Tesla uses in its Model S and Model X cars, it packages them in a way that is unique to Alta. The result is an electric motorcycle battery with higher energy density than virtually any other battery in a production vehicle.

“We’re right around 180 Wh/kg, which is about 20–30% higher than the current Tesla Model S. We believe the Model 3 will probably be on par with where we are today, although they haven’t announced numbers yet, so we can’t calculate it,” says Rob Sweney, Alta’s director of advanced powertrains.

Battery cells are battery cells. But how you put them together makes a big difference. Alta builds its own electric motorcycle battery pack and thermal management system with help from two companies you have probably never heard of. Kevin Kim, Alta’s head mechanical engineer, explains: “Unfortunately we can’t disclose too many details about the interconnect system because it’s proprietary. I will say that the system allows us to very effectively cool the battery using passive (air-cooled) methods, with no need for liquid cooling. We describe it as being passively air-cooled, and it helps keep the weight down significantly.

“Passive cooling means that the thermal conductivity of the materials that surround the cells is very important. After some testing, we found that a two-part polyurethane from Wevo-Chemie (a German company that specializes in casting, bonding, and sealing resin solutions) had the highest thermal performance, so it became a critical component in our system as an adhesive.”

The bonding agent has to be strong, light, and provide a high degree of electrical insulation. “For any battery pack, you have to balance the need to take away heat from the system while dealing with the high-voltage electrical challenge,” says Kim. “Usually things that are good at conducting heat are also good at conducting electricity.

“Optimizing for those two goals is a fundamental challenge of any battery pack design, so this implementation with the Wevo-Chemie material is part of our solution to improve that tradeoff, because it conducts heat extremely well and at the same time has a high dielectric strength – so it’s also electrically insulating.” It helps that the bonding agent also has a bit of give to it. That helps the pack stay together under the rigors of off-road riding.

17 Responses to “China Will Do to Battery Prices what They Did to Solar Prices”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Swell, while the Orange Horror in the WH fights with the media about “fake news”, plays footsie with Putin as they both push fossil fuels, and tweets to his moronic base (and listens to them cheer), the Chinese are preparing to EAT OUR LUNCH with renewables and battery production. Is anyone paying attention?

    • That media fight and twitter storm serves a very valuable purpose.
      Diverts attention from what is actually happening and the dismantling of protection for the people and the environment as the Republicans seek 2 more States so they can rewrite the constitution for their and their funders and ideological base can lock in a future that is cruel and undemocratic.

      All those that will be negatively impacted by environmental degradation and trashing of healthcare will have lost their vote so won’t matter

      Counseled by Industry, Not Staff, E.P.A. Chief Is Off to a Blazing Start

  2. MorinMoss Says:

    China needs to clean up their act – producing panels & batteries without regard to good environmental practices is foolish & shortsighted.

    And America needs to not to not go backwards either, which will be difficult with Pruitt in charge of the EPA & the coal-sucking Malevolent Mouthbreathing Marmalade Mango Mandarin of Mar-a-Lago in the Oval Office.

    • As Beijing Joins Climate Fight, Chinese Companies Build Coal Plants
      When China halted plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants this year, even as President Trump vowed to “bring back coal” in America, the contrast seemed to confirm Beijing’s new role as a leader in the fight against climate change.

      But new data on the world’s biggest developers of coal-fired power plants paints a very different picture: China’s energy companies will make up nearly half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade.

      These Chinese corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that today burn little or no coal, according to tallies compiled by Urgewald, an environmental group based in Berlin. Many of the plants are in China, but by capacity, roughly a fifth of these new coal power stations are in other countries.

      Over all, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, according to Urgewald’s tally, which uses data from the Global Coal Plant Tracker portal. The new plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent.

      The fleet of new coal plants would make it virtually impossible to meet the goals set in the Paris climate accord, which aims to keep the increase in global temperatures from preindustrial levels below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

      • toby52 Says:

        The keyword is “planned . How many will get built?

        How many nuclear power stations were planned in the world 30 years ago?

      • lesliegraham1 Says:

        They’ll never be built. Coal is dead – solar and wind is already cheaper than even existing coal plants in more and more countries and the price is still dropping like a stone.
        When the next generation of printed solar panels goes into full scale production that will be the final death knell.

        • Sir Charles Says:

          Let’s hope so.

        • greenman3610 Says:

          working on new vid, roughly themed “Post Paris, the Way forward”. Tend to think projections for new fossil fuel projects overblown, renewables continue to be lowballed.
          Tech change now happening at a pace unseen in human history, which explains a lot of the disconnect. Major pivot in China, India, Africa playing out now.

      • webej Says:

        Yes, but this activity is on the part of people using 1/10th as much electricity or less than do Americans, and also a fraction as much kerosene and gasoline for getting around. The US is not going to contribute to funds to help these people skip a few stages in their accession to the modern world.

  3. […] via China Will Do to Battery Prices what They Did to Solar Prices | Climate Denial Crock of the Week […]

  4. Reblogged this on The Most Revolutionary Act and commented:
    While Tesla may be building the biggest and splashiest factory, the Chinese government has launched a sweeping effort to increase the country’s dominant market share.


    Those who wish to reshape The USA into a brutal Authoritarian regime for the benefit of a very select few are fighting for their cause tooth and nail

  6. joekano76 Says:

    Reblogged this on Floating-voter.

  7. mboli Says:

    The Republicans in Congress are saying: Oh Goody!

    Why, you ask?


    The Dept. of Energy provides loan guarantees for a range of technologies, including batteries. So if Chinese capability ramps up fast enough, some US recipient of a loan guarantee will fail.

    An opportunity! An opportunity to bash the Obama administration (no matter when the loan was approved). An opportunity to bash renewable energy as a boondoggle (no matter that it has largely not been so). An opportunity to say “government shouldn’t pick winners and losers” as an excuse for not supporting R&D. An opportunity to cast aspersions on anybody who says it is important to address global warming. And an opportunity for more and more subpoenas for e-mails, and exposing all sorts of meaningless but bad-looking-out-of-context exchangings.

    The Chinese are handing the Republicans a gift that will keep giving for several years.

  8. js”>The keyword is “planned .
    Diverts attention from what is actually happening and the dismantling of protection for the people and the environment as the Republicans seek 2 more States so they can rewrite the constitution for their and their funders and ideological base can lock in a future that is cruel and undemocratic.

  9. js”>The keyword is “planned . js”>js”>The keyword is “planned .

  10. maxlcrepeau Says:

    js”>The keyword is “planned . js”>js”>The keyword is “planned .

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