How The Covid-19 Pandemic Is Impacting The Battery Sector
The world is in transition between a lead-acid battery past, and a future in which lithium-ion batteries are poised to supplant lead-acid batteries and to displace increasing volumes of transportation fuels.
But will this year’s Covid-19 pandemic affect this transition? T
Covid-19 Impact on Lithium-Ion Sector
The pandemic hasn’t left the lithium battery sector untouched. Although lithium batteries are used in many important medical devices — including the ventilators that have been critical during this pandemic — the largest area of growth has been in electric vehicles (EVs). But Wood Mackenzie recently projected that global EV sales will fall 43% this year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Monthly EV sales in China did fall by 39% in Q1 2020, but the International Energy Agency (IEA) is more optimistic about numbers for the full year. In its Global EV Outlook 2020, the IEA projects that the Covid-19 pandemic will cause a 15% contraction this year in the passenger car market, but they expect sales for passenger and commercial light-duty EVs will remain broadly at 2019 levels. They do add that a second wave of the pandemic or slower-than-expected recovery could cause a worse outcome.
China, which dominates global lithium-ion battery production, has seen its biggest lithium-ion manufacturers, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd (CATL) and BYD, curtail production due to lack of workers and access to raw materials.