The Surging U.S. Battery Control Technology Business

Published - Aug 2000| Analyst - Donald Saxman| Code - FCB026B
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Report Highlights

  • The U.S. wholesale level market for battery control technology will be over $1.8 billion in 2000 and should grow to over $8.5 billion (constant 2000 dollars) by 2010. Specifically, battery chargers and power converters represent the largest of the three battery control technology market sectors, with 2000 sales of $1.1 billion. By 2010, smart batteries will be the largest of the three sectors, with wholesale sales over $5.9 billion compared to approximately $2.2 billion in chargers and approximately $450 million in power conditioners.
  • Automotive batteries (those sold for starting, lighting, and ignition in cars, motorcycles, and trucks) represent the major consumer of lead and the single highest value battery market sector. There are over 65 million battery chargers in place in American households. An additional 24 million commercial, industrial, and government sites own automotive battery chargers. This means that there are approximately 89 million automotive battery chargers in service. The normal service life for automotive battery chargers is 4-6 years. This means that all other things considered 15-20 million new battery chargers must be sold annually to replace retired units.
  • The market for automotive smart batteries will grow from about $5 million market in 2000 to a $980 million annual market within ten years.


Rechargeable batteries are increasingly used in portable product, motive power, and stationary power applications, including vehicles, computers, cellular phones, and in uninterruptible and emergency power supplies. This revolution in battery power has been possible through a systems approach that includes advanced batteries, "smart" microcontroller battery chargers, and power conditioners and converters. Together, this "Surging Battery Control Technology" impacts the commercial and consumer electronics market, the transportation market, and the electrical power generation market, among others.

Ultimately, the market for batteries drives the market for battery control technology -- chargers, converters, and conditioners. Batteries are used to accumulate and transport electrical energy. These functions -- power storage and power portability -- make batteries essential to today's industrial and consumer-oriented society. Although simple batteries have existed for at least two hundred years, the battery industry traces its roots to the early 1900s. At that time, the commercialization of automobiles and radios created a demand for automotive (starting, lighting, ignition and generator) batteries and portable appliance batteries. These markets, characterized by primary (disposable) and secondary (rechargeable) batteries, remain the two areas where most batteries are consumed. With the growth of the markets for secondary batteries, the market for battery control has grown. Starting in the 1960s, the wider commercialization of sealed nickel-cadmium batteries and then sealed lead-acid batteries created competition between primary and secondary batteries for some consumer applications. This development also created a market for whole new kinds of battery control technology

Until recently, the U.S. battery market was considered mature, with demand closely related to the sales of either automobiles or various consumer products. Likewise, in many cases, the market for battery control technology was considered mature. During the last few years, there has been a change in this relationship. For instance, improved microelectronic battery charger controller technology is allowing the commercialization of whole new classes of batteries and is improving the marketability of existing battery systems. This in turn has allowed the commercialization of products (notably portable computers, cellular phones, and eventually, electric vehicles or EVs) that would be impossible without improved battery control technology. Further, the U.S. is poised for the widespread adoption of smart automotive battery technology.


First, this report organizes the battery control technology market into five sub-sectors based on the type of consumer:


  • Automotive
  • Traction, Marine and Aviation
  • Portable Products
  • Stationary (UPS, Emergency, Remote)
  • Developmental (Utility, Electric Vehicle and Advanced Military and Aerospace) Markets


Then, the market is organized by type of battery control technology:


  • Battery Chargers and Power Converters
  • Battery Power Conditioners
  • Smart Battery Systems


In some cases, there is an exact intersection between the market-based and the technology-based organization. With this in mind, a market matrix is provided to compare the market organization with the technological organization.

Each of these divisions is comprised of different market sub-sectors, and each is examined in terms of past, present and future sales. Wholesale markets for 2000 (estimated) and predicted 2005 and 2010 market figures are provided. Predicted markets and average annual growth rates (AAGR) are expressed in constant Year 2000 dollars. A detailed discussion of the companies involved in the battery industry is provided in this report's Industry Profiles section.


This report is based on a literature review, patent examination, and discussions with commercial and government sources. Throughout the report, past market data is expressed in current dollars, and estimates and predictions in constant Year 2000 dollars. Wholesale markets for Year 2000 (estimated) and predicted 2005 and 2010 market figures are provided. Most market summaries are based on a consensus scenario that assumes no unanticipated technical advances and no unexpected legislation. In some cases, several possible development scenarios are presented. Totals are rounded to the nearest million dollars. When appropriate, information from previously published sources is identified to allow a more detailed examination by clients.


Donald Saxman, the project analyst for this report, was a long-time editor of the BCC monthly Battery/EV Technology News and founded several other BCC newsletters. Saxman has more than 18 years' experience in market analysis, technical writing, and newsletter editing. Since 1983, he has operated as a technical market consultant and subcontractor to BCC. Previous experience includes supervision of a quality control laboratory at a major secondary lead refinery, work as an analytical chemist at a hazardous waste testing service, product assurance manager for a space station life support system project, and as an information technology analyst and project manager.

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