While the top battery cell makers are still either Japanese (Panasonic) or South Korean (LG Chem and Samsung SDI), this will probably change soon. The real big guys are starting to show up, and they are Chinese.
Chinese companies that have vast resources to invest in acquiring or developing battery technologies are more likely to dominate the global battery cell market in the coming years.
Nissan already agreed to sell the battery cell maker AESC to GSR Capital (GSR), a Chinese private investment fund. Furthermore, the Chinese battery cell maker CATL is now producing modern NCM cells that are second to none.
I remember to see a Chinese minister saying that Chinese automakers were way behind Japaneses and Europeans regarding ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) technology, for this reason the electric car was the opportunity they had and needed to become leaders.
For electric cars the battery technology is the most important part, it’s what differentiates the best from the rest. Knowing this, in 2016, the Chinese government passed legislation that requires EV cells to achieve at least an energy density of 200 Wh/kg, nevertheless, in 2017, second generation NCM battery cells from CATL already reached 240 Wh/kg.
To sum up, the Chinese companies already have the technology they need to make great electric cars and the Chinese government couldn’t care less if foreign automakers can’t or don’t want to comply with recent regulation that mandates more electric cars and less ICE cars. If European, American, Japanese and Korean automakers don’t build electric cars in China, the Chinese government will kick them out without feeling sorry, since they don’t need them anymore. Foreign automakers need China, not the other way around and that’s why even automakers that despise electric cars like Toyota will mass produce them in China by 2019.