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Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Car Lithium Battery

On October 9th, the Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to three scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan, John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whitinge. M.Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino to reward their contributions in the field of lithium-ion batteries. This has made a wonderful connection between the Nobel Prize and the development of the automotive industry.

As the Nobel Committee of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm said, since its first entry into the market in 1991, lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized human life and are widely used in everything from cell phones to laptops and electric cars. A large amount of energy from solar and wind energy makes it possible to have a fossil fuel-free society.

Without a lithium battery, many electrical products are likely to be bulky and bulky, and portable communication devices are also less portable, and thin and light smart phones are even more difficult to talk about. The development of lithium batteries has also made the electric car revolution a fierce new energy revolution. The significance is very significant.

The 97-year-old Yoshino Akira, who won the award, is known as the "father of lithium batteries." In 1985, he developed the first commercially available lithium-ion battery based on the cathode developed by Gudinaf. A battery that is lightweight and durable and can be charged and discharged hundreds of times before performance drops. In 1991, Sony Corporation of Japan successfully commercialized lithium-ion batteries for the first time and officially introduced lithium batteries to the market. For the development prospects of lithium batteries, Yoshino is always full of expectations, he believes that lithium batteries redefine the future.

No matter how many new models the car has, how many new materials to use, and how many new features to add, the power source is an integral part. Indeed, what corresponds to the development of power batteries is the unprecedented prosperity of the electric vehicle industry. In the long run, electric vehicles can provide a clean alternative to traditional cars by reducing air pollution and limiting noise pollution. The car lithium battery has reached a climax and has only a decade of history. Although it is not long compared with the history of laptop batteries for more than 20 years, its impact on the global automotive industry cannot be ignored. Moreover, with the strengthening of environmental awareness among countries, countries and regions such as Europe and China are planning to phase out gasoline and diesel vehicles, which is causing a major change in the global automotive industry dominated by internal combustion engines. The traditional automobile industry is undergoing transformation.

From the main applications of lithium batteries, they are concentrated in two major areas: First, mobile products, such as mobile phones and computers, account for about 2/3 of the lithium battery usage, while the second largest area is the car battery. Therefore, on the other hand, the emergence of electric vehicles has opened up a new application direction for lithium batteries, bringing new business opportunities.

Almost all car companies are considering car electrification as a major strategic plan for the moment. According to the data, in the whole year of 2018, global electric vehicle sales exceeded 2 million units, and the market share reached 2.1%, an increase of 72%. According to Bernstein, a Wall Street research firm, electric vehicles may account for 40% of global car sales and 30% of global car ownership over the next 20 years. At present, the cost of car batteries in electric vehicles has already occupied one-third. The scale of the car battery market will further expand with the development of electric vehicles, which is a foreseeable future.

In the transformation of the automotive industry, on the one hand, it is exploring new models, and on the other hand, it is stepping up research and development and manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries. In the lithium battery manufacturing industry, the situation of competition between Japan, China and South Korea has already formed. Japan's Matsushita, South Korea's Samsung, SK, LG and China's Ningde era, BYD, is considered to be the world's leading electric vehicle battery, occupying a major market share. Many countries have also invested heavily in infrastructure construction, especially charging stations, to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, and China is also very prominent in this regard.

It is worth noting that the competition in the automotive lithium battery industry will also become increasingly fierce.

In order to compete with Asian battery manufacturers, in October 2017, the European Union announced the launch of the battery industry alliance, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Renault, Siemens, BASF, Solvay, Northvolt and other manufacturers have joined. In May last year, German Chancellor Merkel called on German manufacturers to increase the production of electric vehicle batteries in Europe and support local production. Other investment and negotiation cooperation are also taking place in Europe.

In addition, in order to grasp the control rights in the electric vehicle industry and improve the bargaining power in the supply chain system, the vehicle manufacturers began to get involved in battery manufacturing to improve the layout of the industrial chain. For example, Volkswagen not only plans to sell 22 million electric vehicles based on its electric platform by 2028, but also decided to take more core power battery technology in its own hands and spend nearly 1 billion euros to build its own battery factory. It also acquired new technologies through the acquisition of battery companies to improve research and development.

In the future of the vehicle-mounted lithium battery in the Warring States era, battery quality, cost, safety, technology upgrades will be the focus of industry competition.


Contact: Geely Zhang

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