SMM News: in order to reverse the overall trend of bigger, heavier, and faster electric bicycles in recent years, the mandatory national standard of the "Technical Specification for Electric Bicycle Safety" (hereinafter referred to as the new national standard) was born on May 17, 2018, changing the style of the old national standard "combining breadth and strictness". Strict limits are defined in the maximum design speed, vehicle mass, motor power and battery nominal voltage. The landing of the new national standard seems to stir up thousands of waves, which has brought a lot of vibration to the upstream and downstream industry chain of electric bicycles, and the core component batteries bear the brunt. The curing pattern of the electric bicycle battery market, which has been absolutely dominated by lead-acid batteries, has been loosened. As a result, the lithium-ion batteries with high energy density have gained a good opportunity to extend their skills and surpass the former.
The proportion of new lithium battery market is the same as that of lead battery.
"before the landing of the new national standard, the growth of domestic electric bicycles is as follows: in 2017, the proportion of lithium trams increased by about 7%, or about 2 million-2.2 million vehicles; in 2018, it increased by about 10%, or about 2.8 million-3.2 million. In terms of ownership: lithium trams currently account for about 4 per cent of the total market, or about 8 million-10 million vehicles; in 2019, the growth rate of lithium trams is expected to be as high as 15-20 per cent and 25-30 per cent in 2020. At the same time, the total capacity of the lead power market in 2019 is expected to decline slightly, by about 2 to 5 per cent (excluding lead-acid batteries for tricycles and low-speed tricycles) due to the impact of the new national standard. " A person in the industry told Battery China Network.
Many people in the industry agree with the market trend of "lithium rising and lead falling". "the proportion of new lead-acid and lithium batteries in 2018 is about 9:1 to 13:2, and within one to three years of the new national standard, the proportion is expected to reach 3 to 2, or even half of the two batteries."
Yi Xiaobo, director of the National Standard and Technical Committee for lead-acid batteries, believes that with the gradual promotion of the new national standard, the proportion of lead-acid batteries and lithium batteries used in domestic electric bicycles will be adjusted from 8:2 to 6:4.
Is it inevitable that lead-acid batteries will be replaced?
The new national standard clearly requires that the maximum design speed of electric bicycles does not exceed 25Km/H, the vehicle quality (including batteries) does not exceed 55Kg, the motor power does not exceed 400W, and the nominal voltage of batteries does not exceed 48V. It is worth noting that the current market of electric bicycles is still dominated by lead-acid batteries, with the implementation of the new national standard, lithium-ion batteries with higher energy density, lighter weight and better cycle performance will become the best alternative.
Obviously, the pursuit of the new national standard of vehicle "lightweight" is not very "friendly" for lead batteries with larger volume and weight. On the contrary, lithium batteries with higher energy density are more likely to be favored.
There is a leak in the house and there is a lot of rain and rain in the house. As a result of the frequent fluctuations in the price of lead-acid batteries, it is difficult to stabilize the cost of lead-acid batteries. At the same time, the cost of lithium batteries is falling year by year, which means that, regardless of the hard injuries of "overweight", one of the key cost advantages that lead battery companies once prided themselves on is likely to disappear.
Against this backdrop, lead-acid batteries, once the leader in the e-bike industry, have suffered for the first time. Many people believe that the emergence of the new national standard will be a turning point in its fate, and it seems inevitable that the leading position will be replaced by lithium batteries.
As a giant of lead-acid battery, at the same time, Chaowei Group in the field of deep ploughing lithium battery firmly points out that lead-acid battery has the advantages of performance-to-price ratio, safety, high recovery value, and perfect closed-loop industrial chain. More importantly, lead-acid battery enterprises, especially head enterprises, are also actively promoting the innovation and progress of lead-acid battery technology, including light and high energy technology, life extension technology and so on. "lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries will coexist in the electric bicycle industry for a long time in the future," he said. "
Yi Xiaobo also believes that lead-acid batteries should not be replaced. In fact, the lightweight requirements of the new national standard will have a certain impact on the 20Ah lead battery, but has little effect on the smaller 12Ah battery.
How do lead and acid enterprises fight against each other?
Indeed, some electric bicycle manufacturers may switch to lighter lithium-ion batteries and reduce the use of lead-acid batteries on electric bicycles because of excessive lead power.
However, the relevant person in charge of Chaowei Group further pointed out the positive side that is easy to be ignored. "the new national standard will bring about a technological revolution in lead-acid batteries, and strict policy requirements will force lead-acid batteries to develop in the direction of lightweight and promote key technological progress. In addition, the new national standard will also effectively promote the application of new lightweight materials (aluminum alloy, magnesium alloy, carbon fiber composites, etc.), so as to achieve the improvement of vehicle technology. "
Facts have proved that this statement is true.
It is understood that in order to promote the transformation and upgrading of lead-acid batteries, Chaowei Group began to deploy products that meet the requirements of the new national standard more than a year ago. Specifically, it includes two levels, the first is to take the new national standard as an opportunity to upgrade the product technology, from two directions to improve the technical performance of the product: one is to upgrade the lightweight technology. Chaowei Group has developed a lightweight technical route for storage batteries. After technical research and development and product trial production, the weight of 6-DZF-20 batteries has been reduced from the original 7kg to the current 6.3kg, and may eventually be reduced to about 5kg.
Second, the technical route of long life. In terms of energy density, lead-acid batteries are difficult to compete with lithium-ion batteries, so they can only rely on improving safety and cycle life to maintain their leadership in electric bicycles. Chaowei will also launch long-lived lead-acid batteries.
Secondly, the joint vehicle factory, jointly develop the new Rubik's Cube series of batteries as the representative of the new national standard vehicle lead-acid battery. At present, its light-weight high-energy battery has been widely used in major car factories, such as Emma, Yadi and so on.
Is the new national standard an opportunity or a challenge?
At the beginning of the new national standard Taiwan, controversy rose one after another. On the face of it, the trend of the new policy of "suppressing lead and raising lithium" seems obvious. Lithium batteries can easily win half of the lead-acid batteries in the electric vehicle industry, but things are far from that simple.
Yi Xiaobo pointed out, "if you calculate the cost of the battery, the gap between lithium battery and lead-acid battery may not be large, but if calculated according to the system (including heat preservation, heat dissipation, management system, etc.), the gap between the two will be large." The 'experts' are calculated on the basis of a single battery, but the market and enterprises are calculated by the system, which is why some lithium battery companies are struggling to make a profit. And after the release of the new national standard, the lead battery market will shrink to a certain extent, and the lead price will drop sharply as a result. In this way, the cost advantage of lead-acid batteries will be highlighted again. Coupled with a series of advantages, such as high safety, renewable rate and stable high and low temperature performance, lead-acid batteries still have a strong competitiveness. "
Therefore, although lithium battery is favored by policy, it is still unknown whether it can pass the cruel test of the market and obtain consumer recognition if it does not vigorously reduce the system cost and further improve the safety degree. For lead-acid batteries, the seemingly dark road ahead, in fact, implies infinite vitality, as long as down-to-earth, policy as the yardstick to continue to deepen technological innovation, may go faster and further.
The market is always demand-oriented, as long as it can provide consumers with a safe, convenient, high-quality, affordable travel experience, whether it is lead or lithium may not be so important. There is no absolute win or lose, perhaps a hundred flowers blossom, is the best "scenery" of the market.