Lux Research ranks automotive battery and capacitor suppliers according to partnership potential


Despite the hype and the growth surrounding electric vehicles and energy storage devices like batteries and ultra-capacitors, the sheer number of competitors in this already crowded market may force companies to consolidate or create new partnerships in order to compete and make a profit.

According to its latest news release, Lux Research has ranked technology developers in both Li-ion batteries and super capacitors, also known as ultra-capacitors, on the Lux Innovation Grid to help determine which will make the strongest potential partners as the electric vehicle market matures.

The report, entitled “Using Partnerships to Stay Afloat in the Electric Vehicle Storm,” maps the current web of relationships among energy storage developers, integrators, and automakers; and analyzes supply and demand for energy storage in electric vehicles. It then ranks companies on the Lux Innovation Grid, a proprietary framework to help readers assess the relative performance of potential partners.

“The electric vehicle value chain is growing so integrated that battery makers must have strong partnerships with one or more automakers,” said Kevin See, a Lux Analyst and the report’s lead author. “These relationships are necessary to build credibility and drive new business, as illustrated by Li-ion battery-maker LG Chem, whose strong partnerships propelled it to the top position in our rankings.”

To assess the partnership potential of energy storage developers targeting the electric vehicle market, Lux Research assigned scores for each company’s technical value, business execution, and maturity. Based on these scores, analysts plotted each company’s relative potential on the Lux Innovation Grid, which comprises four quadrants: Dominant, High-Potential, Long-Shot, and Undistinguished.

Among the report’s highlights are the following companies:

LG Chem Power (LGCPI) leads the Li-ion battery-maker pack. In fact, LGCPI targets to be the partner of choice for vehicle manufacturers utilizing Lithium Ion Energy Storage Solutions for Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), and Electric Vehicle (EV) applications.

The company sits atop the Lux Innovation Grid’s Dominant quadrant, with strong technical value, due to its high-energy lithium-manganese-spinel-based cells and strong cycle life – at costs that are among the most competitive in the market. Its multitude of supply partnerships with the likes of General Motors Company (NYSE: GM), Eaton (NYSE: ETN), and Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), however, are what justify the company’s strong business execution score.

A123 Systems (Nasdaq: AONE) and Ener1 (Nasdaq: HEV) are media darlings that garner more headlines than momentum. Unfortunately, both land well out of the Dominant quadrant of the Lux Innovation Grid. Motivated by the potential for major automotive supply deals, both were originally building significant manufacturing capacity. Yet, despite a few minor partnerships, neither has scored a major deal that will drive significant revenues.

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