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USA: Electric-Car Battery Makers’ Capacity Will Be Double Demand

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) — Producers of electric-car batteries such as LG Chem Ltd. and Johnson Controls Inc. are building new plants at such a pace that capacity will grow to almost double automakers’ demand, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report shows.

While manufacturers will have capacity to make 35 gigawatt hours of batteries by 2013, carmakers have committed to produce as many as 839,000 plug-in electric vehicles needing a total of 18 gigawatt-hours of storage, the London-based researcher said.

“The larger, mainly Asian, conglomerates can cope with limited demand and compete by lowering prices but smaller pure- play battery makers will be left vying for an increasingly limited number of supply contracts,” said Ali Izadi-Najafabadi, an energy technologies analyst at New Energy Finance.

The glut of factories may push smaller manufacturers out of the running for orders and into areas such as energy storage for surplus power from electricity grids, according to today’s report. Battery prices may also decline to $350 per kilowatt- hour in 2020 from $800 to $1,000 now, New Energy Finance said.

Among Asian companies best able to cope with the surplus are LG Chem, South Korea’s biggest chemicals maker, Seoul-based SK Innovation Co., Toshiba Corp. in Tokyo and SB LiMotive, a joint venture between Samsung Electronics Co. and Robert Bosch GmbH, said Shu Sun, another analyst at the research group.

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