Despite efforts from the U.S. and Europe to increase domestic production of batteries, the market remains dominated by China. Estimates by BNEF, Bloomberg’s research service, show how difficult becoming less reliant on China will likely be.
China has a deep stranglehold on battery production, leaving global carmakers dependent on Chinese production. The country’s battery makers supply some 80% of cells used worldwide.
China’s dominance comes from its control of the production of cell components -- the four parts that are essential for a battery to work.
It has about 70% of the world’s production capacity of cathodes, more than 80% of anodes and more than 50% of electrolyte and separator output, according to BNEF Electric Vehicle Outlook 2023.
More than three-quarters of lithium-ion battery parts are made in China and primarily by Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) and BYD Co., or Build Your Dreams.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said China floods the EV market because it can sell cars at “artificially low” prices.
China’s battery packs come in at $127 per kilowatt hour on average, while prices in North America and Europe are 24% and 33% higher, according to BNEF.
“There is no way the EU can do anything about Chinese carmakers coming into Europe now,” Pierre-Olivier Essig, an analyst at AIR Capital, tells Bloomberg.
“The battery supply chain is totally controlled by the Chinese, so good luck with that.”