SEOUL, KOREA - The market for rechargeable batteries is getting bigger in tandem with the increase in the demand for electric bicycles. This is accelerated by the trend toward replacement of old lead-acid batteries to environmentally friendly lithium-ion batteries. Samsung SDI is the dominant company that is currently supplying lithium-ion batteries to major electric bike makers such as Mando Footloose, Samchuly Bicycle, and Alton Sports.
Samsung SDI president Park Sang-jin said, "If the main means of transportation in the future are restructured around electric cars and rail cars, most short distance travels will be covered by electric bikes. We are very optimistic about the battery market for e-bikes. About 30 percent lighter than the same-class lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries can travel 60 kilometers of distance at 25 km an hour in a single charge.
Presently the companies capable of manufacturing batteries for electric bikes include LG Chem and Panasonic of Japan, as well as Samsung SDI. Other Chinese battery makers are still engaged in producing lead-acid batteries. LG Chem is reviewing a plan to plunge into the business of making e-bike batteries after seeing a clear sign that the market is indeed growing. As for Panasonic which is already supplying electric car batteries to Tesla of the United States, it is in a flexible position to move into the e-bike battery market whenever it wishes.
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