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U.S. Battery Maker Says China May Lead the World in Electric Vehicles

Despite the hip advertising seen in the U.S. for electric cars such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, analysts indicate that the vehicles will only make up a small percentage of the market for years to come. But a recent deal between a Boston-based battery maker and a major Chinese auto company shows that a strong movement is underway that could soon make China the center of the electric vehicle world.

Boston-Power has signed a multi-year agreement to provide lithium-ion battery systems to Beijing Electric Vehicle Company, a division of Beijing Automotive Industry Company (BAIC). The battery pack will be installed in thousands of electric cars by 2014, notably BAIC’s new C70 full-size sedan, which goes on pre-order this fall. The reasons Boston-Power reached a deal with a Chinese automaker, and not, say, an American or European company, reveal why China could rapidly lead the market.

The most fundamental reason is that “China has committed to achieving sustainable energy innovations in all aspects of society, including transportation,” says Christina Lampe-Onnerud, who founded Boston-Power in 2005 and is the company’s international chairman. China is now the number one auto market in the world, and is poised to claim that rank for electric vehicles as well.
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