Panasonic is the current leader in the global battery market for electric vehicles (EVs) with a 39% share.
That’s according to a new report which states Korean company LG Chem has the potential to overtake it as it has signed up automakers including General Motors, Volkswagen, Daimler and Ford.
Panasonic is reliant on a single deal with EV-leader Tesla which leaves it vulnerable, the report claims.
It adds the market is expected to be worth $30 billion (£19m) by 2020.
It states in the event of a surge in sales of plug-in hybrids by German manufacturers, LG Chem would only need to win over Japan’s Nissan to topple Panasonic.
Cosmin Laslau, Lux Research Senior Analyst and lead author of the report said: “The battery world’s big three – Panasonic, LG Chem and Samsung SDI – are engaged in an all-out war for market share in the emerging plug-in vehicle opportunity, yet their strategies differ wildly.”
The report states the plug-in market is “still in its infancy” as Tesla holds less than a 0.1% share of global automotive sales. However, most auto majors are quickly offering more options: The Volkswagen Group, which sold 9.6 million units worldwide in 2014, plans 20 plug-in options by 2020.
It adds Renault-Nissan Alliance will account for 9% of the market by 2020. However, its joint venture Automotive Energy Supply Corporation has underperformed due to high costs and lagging technology, leaving an opening for LG Chem – which already supplies Renault – to win over Nissan.
The report went on to say new technology beyond the current li-ion batteries is “key to the lower cost and higher performance need for future leadership”.