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Rising electric-car sales in Europe helped South Korean battery makers sell more in the first six months of the year, bucking a downward trend in global sales for the industry.

LG Chem Ltd., Samsung SDI Co. and SK Innovation Co. boosted sales in the first half, helped by European demand, SNE Research said Monday. Worldwide sales of electric-vehicle batteries fell 23% as the coronavirus outbreak undermined demand for new cars in the US and China, the research firm said.

The pandemic and resulting lockdowns led to weaker consumer spending, hurting demand for cars including EVs. Still, actions by some governments to help boost EV sales, such as tax rebates, combined with a push by brands including Volkswagen AG to introduce new modes has raised expectations that demand is recovering.

“The European market has been showing a strong rebound in EV sales since June," SNE Research said in a statement. “Demand in the US and China is expected to gradually recover."

Sales at LG Chem jumped 83% to 10.5 gigawatt hours, helping it grab the top spot globally in the first half. The company benefited from rising demand for Tesla Inc. Model 3 sedans in China and Renault SA’s Zoe cars, SNE Research said.

Samsung SDI posted a 35% increase in sales and SK Innovation saw a 66% gain on demand for Audi AG’s E-Tron and Kia Motors Corp.’s Soul Booster EVs, SNE Research said.

China Aviation Lithium Battery Technology Co. also increased sales, while the other six manufacturers in the top 10 posted declines. Sales at Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. dropped 28% to 10 gigawatt hours and Panasonic Co. saw a decline of 32% to 8.7 gigawatt hours.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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