As people have become increasingly concerned about environmental problems, the electric bicycle, or e-bike, market is rapidly growing. In particular, Samsung SDI is maintaining the number one spot in the e-bike lithium battery market with its small but long lasting battery technology.
According to Japanese battery market research firm B3 on May 12, the e-bike battery market is expected to grow from 38 million cells in the first quarter last year to 67 million cells in the fourth quarter this year.
Existing lead acid batteries in e-bike are gradually replacing with lithium-ion batteries. The lithium-ion battery introduction rates in China, which accounts for more than 90 percent on the total e-bike sales, is rapidly increasing from 5 percent in 2012 to 14 percent in 2015.
Accordingly, the lithium-ion battery market shows an annual growth rate of over 20 percent. Samsung SDI ranked first in terms of market share with a 27 percent share in the global e-bike battery market.
An e-bike battery pack consisting of dozens of cylindrical batteries is used to produce an e-bike. Samsung SDI’s 18650 cylindrical e-bike battery pack, which represents 18mm diameter and 65mm length cells, is generally used. The company provides high capacity e-bike battery cells of 3.5 Ah improved through research and development. Samsung SDI supplies its batteries to not only domestic bicycle producers, such as Alton and Samchully, but also global bicycle makers in China and Europe in where the e-bike market is developed.
Samsung SDI’s e-bike battery is half the size of existing lead acid batteries but has three times longer life span.
According to the Electric Bikes Worldwide Report 2015, sales of global e-bikes increased from 32 million in 2012 to 40 million in 2015. By country, China accounts for 90 percent in global sales, followed by Europe and the U.S. About 17,000 e-bikes were sold in Korea last year. Compared with global markets, Korea is still a small market.