China is winning the battery manufacturing raceThe growing demand for lithium-ion batteries is being met with an increase in manufacturing capacities. However, this capacity is not equally distributed around the world: China was holding a 76 percent share of the global lithium-ion batteries production capacity in 2022. As of 2023, the country’s lithium-ion batteries capacity was over 10 times larger than in the United States, the second-largest producer of this energy storage technology. In 2021, China was also the powerhouse of electric vehicles lithium-ion battery manufacturing, producing around 80 percent of batteries that entered the global market. Not surprisingly, most of the largest gigafactories in the world were located in China and in the U.S..
Although Europe is planning extensive investments in lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities, China will still dominate the global production of lithium-ion batteries in the foreseeable future. It is expected that, by 2030, China will be manufacturing some 68 percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries, while European production is estimated to account for around 11 percent.
Applications for lithium-ion batteriesLithium-ion batteries are rechargeable electric devices where lithium atoms move back and forth from the negative to the positive electrode during the discharge and charging process. Their high energy density, the low recharge time, energy cost, and weight, and other aspects of its technology made lithium-ion batteries the more sought-after battery energy storage alternative. Nowadays, besides electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in devices such as mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras, and power tools. It is expected that with improvements in lithium-ion technology and dropping prices of lithium-ion battery packs, the range of applications for lithium-ion batteries will widen.
However, lithium-ion batteries also have downsides. Mining activities for the extraction of the materials used in the production of battery cells pose environmental, social, and governance issues to local communities.