68% lithium-ion, 28% NiMHEven without Tesla's wind and solar-powered Gigafactory, the world is making a lot of batteries for plug-in vehicles. The numbers for the first three months of 2014 are in, and they show a tripling over the past 3 years to a run-rate of about 1.4 gigawatt-hour (GWh) per quarter for both plug-ins and hybrids. With no growth at all, that's a run rate of 5.6 GWh per year! But clearly there's going to be a lot of growth in the coming years. I wouldn't be surprised to see production go above 10 GWh pretty quickly.
Lithium-ion technology is now clearly in the lead with 68% of the total, with nickel–metal hydride technology (NiMH) mostly holding to 28% thanks to Toyota still using it in the non-pluggable version of its best-selling Prius.
As far as battery manufacturer, Panasonic has taken a lead by growing extremely fast over the past couple of years thanks to its supply agreement with Tesla Motors. As you can see in the graph above, things truly exploded for the Japanese battery-maker in late 2012, while other suppliers have been growing nicely for a long time, but not nearly as quickly.
When it comes to hybrid vs. plug-in, hybrids sell in much higher number, but their smaller battery packs still mean that plug-ins win in total battery volume: Hybrids demand was 481 MWh in Q1 2014, while plug-ins used 774 MWh.