Korean firms battle to gain upper hand in electric car battery marketUpdated: 2014-09-01 21:58:32 KST
By 2020, more than 10-million eco-friendly vehicles powered by batteries are expected to be on the roads.
"And this industry of tomorrow is taking root here in Korea, with a couple of local companies spearheading the global electric car battery market."
Korean makers, LG Chem and Samsung SDI, are expected to make up half the electric car battery market share this year.
LG Chem recently won a deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars from Audi, raising the number of its global customers to 20.
They include General Motors, Ford, Renault and Hyundai.
Samsung SDI supplies batteries to BMW.
Japan was the pioneer for electric car batteries but experts say Korean firms are better-positioned at this point.
"The competitive edge of local battery makers has strengthened since developing batteries for mobile phones and other home appliances. Based on that they're now building up their technology for batteries in electric and hybrid vehicles."
Battery life is not necessarily the main stumbling block any more.
Companies already have the technology to develop a battery that can run around 320 kilometers on a single charge more than enough for a normal daily drive for most commuters.
But the key in building a big enough electric car market is driving down the price.
So the name of the game is to secure a system of mass production and little wonder battery makers are vying to strike deals with as many automakers as possible as their customers.
"The electric car market is still in its early stages so once battery makers establish business relationships with automakers, it's likely to continue for decades. It's important to secure deals, although they might face losses for now."
The race to win more customers is heating up.
The biggest competitor, Panasonic, has teamed up with American electric carmaker Tesla to build a massive battery factory in the U.S.
It's a big leap by the Japanese battery maker and the fierce rivalry should ensure the era of electric cars will come sooner than we ever thought possible.
Hwang Ji-hye, Arirang News.
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