The market for batteries for electric vehicles and Sunlight’s success story

The market for batteries for electric vehicles and Sunlight’s success story

By Matina Harkoftakis

In recent years, global car manufacturers have been engaged in a race to ensure a steady supply of batteries, which are used for electric vehicles. The upward trajectory of the international demand for electric vehicles is also reflected in the performance of the battery manufacturing industry, the capacity of which is expected to increase fivefold by 2025. After all, batteries are a vital component as they play a decisive role in the autonomy and performance of a vehicle. car while at the same time representing 30-40% of the total price of an electric vehicle. Within lithium-ion battery technology, which is also the undisputed market leader, high-performance nickel-based chemical batteries account for 75% of the total battery demand for electric vehicles, while the remaining percentage is covered by nickel-free chemical batteries (LFP ), which are cheaper, however, offer lower autonomy.

Dynamic demand for electric vehicle batteries

According to market analysts, global battery supply is at a critical point driven by rapid uptake of electric vehicles. It is indicative that global sales of electric vehicles reached 6.6 million units in 2021, an increase of 113% year-on-year, accounting for approximately 9% of total new car sales and expected to reach 24 million by 2025 and 49 million by 2030. In order to meet this demand, the production capacity of lithium-ion batteries is expected to increase from 800GWh formed in 2021 to >4’000GWh by 2025. At the same time that the demand outlook looks positive, however, a number of challenges remain in the foreground, which are related to the increased demand for certain raw materials, a factor, which affects prices, creating uncertainty regarding future availability, making battery supply a critical issue for major car companies. According to market analysts, the two main types of batteries, one nickel-based and the other nickel-free, are expected to complement each other and coexist in the future. Nickel base batteries (NMC) tend to be used in higher quality and performance cars, while LFPs in cheaper car models.

The success story of the Greek Sunlight

One of the strong players in the production of industrial batteries, lead-acid and lithium-ion technology energy storage systems. is the Greek company Sunlight Group, a member of the Olympia Group of businessman Panos Germanos. Remaining steadfast all these years on the path of dynamic growth, its turnover in 2021 set a record at 272 million euros compared to 177 million euros the previous year, registering an increase of 54%. The increase is mainly due to the company’s dynamic repositioning in the global market, while at the same time it took advantage of the increasing trends in production, at the same time as the industry of traction batteries and energy storage systems recovers from the consequences of the pandemic. Another contributing factor was that Sunlight appeared well prepared to meet demand, thanks to the performance of its production facilities in Xanthi, Komotini, Verona, Italy and Greensboro, North Carolina in the US. By no means, however, is the company resting as it plans to implement an investment plan of 560 million euros, which aims to increase production capacity in lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries by upgrading and modernizing existing facilities with modern equipment and new production lines. In addition, the production and geographical expansion strategy includes the creation of a new lithium battery production unit in Western Macedonia. The batteries that will be produced in the new factory will be channeled to specialized markets in the electric mobility sector (forklifts, robotics, shipping, energy storage). This specific investment is estimated to reach 200 million euros, while it is expected to be completed in 2026 and will employ over 400 workers.

Source: Capital