Growing battery market represents challenge – Schneider Electric
Avoiding stranded assets is tough in a market experiencing fast-paced change
The EV battery market is growing so fast that it present a challenge for battery manufacturers looking to build scale whilst also future-proofing their operations, according to executives at French energy management and automation group Schneider Electric.
Speaking at the firm’s Capital Markets Day, Aamir Paul, president of the firm’s North American operations, notes that, by 2030, the output of the battery market is expected to triple from current levels.
“There is growth pretty much everywhere,” he says. “On the one hand, you have this variable that says, let us go invest billions of dollars in a large facility. On the other hand, you have to make sure you are future proofing it in real ways as your technology and designs change.”
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Schneider Electric offers end-to-end digital solutions for EV battery plants, helping manufacturers design and automate facilities that can be reconfigured at a later stage as technology develops.
Improving links to the electricity grid to meet the scale of demand from EV battery plants also represents a significant challenge, according to Paul.
“The various parts of the process require much more energy intensity and power quality management, as well as interfaces with the utilities. As you build these plants, there is a massive impact to the grid from a load standpoint,” he says.
“Converging energy management information and automation information to a single platform…is how you build at scale today and have the flexibility to adapt for tomorrow,” Paul adds.
In its latest third quarter results, Schneider admits a drop in demand from OEMs for its facility automation products, particularly in China and Western Europe. But at the firm's capital markets day CEO Peter Herweck stresses the drop is cyclical and he expects demand to pick up in the future.
“These cycles have traditionally had a certain period over several quarters,” Herweck says. “I would anticipate that it is going to be similar this time around.”
OEM facility automation represents about 15pc of the firm’s product sales.
Schneider Electric also provides EV charging infrastructure, initially aimed at commercial fleets and buildings, including charging stations and charging management systems.