April 9, 2021: Imperium Motor, the EV subsidiary of Canadian technology firm DSG Global, has signed a distributor agreement aimed at strengthening its supply chain through a partnership with the Chinese lead battery supplier NP Power International, the firm said on April 6.
Imperium specializes in electric vehicles, and while NP Power’s portfolio primarily consists of lead-acid batteries and power banks, it says it will begin supplying lithium batteries that Imperium will assemble at a new production facility in Fullerton, California.
The partnership has been struck at a time when supply chains have been called into question because of global lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic, causing disruptions to industries such as the EV sector.
“If there were a closely located competitive direct supplier of USA manufactured batteries we could use in our line-up of vehicles, we would always be interested in looking at any of those companies and the options they would offer,” said Todd Mehserle, from Imperium’s sales team.
“Lead acid batteries is not a clean business and due to heavy federal regulations in the USA, the impact on USA battery manufacturing has been enormous, leaving limited choices here in North America.
“The smaller boutique manufacturers here in the USA may not be geared for the volume of the flexibility we require as changes in the marketplace accelerate. Flexibility will be needed in this fast-paced environment as the future rapidly unfolds. Many US battery companies are just importing the batteries from offshore. Going through a big supplier leaves us dealing with additional per unit costs through mark-up, shipping, etcetera.
“NPP provides Imperium Motor Company with a solid, multi-faceted solution with the ability to supply us with the current technology and the ability to change to newer technology on the fly as things evolve.
“NPP will be stocking on US soil the batteries we require in both wet cell and lithium (once we get export approval) configurations that can be manufactured and branded as Imperium batteries.”
“Expected growth of the US electric vehicle market faces one major roadblock and that is that it is difficult for American automakers to get enough batteries to scale up production,” said Imperium Motor president Rick Curtis. “We can help alleviate some of this issue while providing competitive advantages to our dealers.
“Our future production facility will provide just-in-time delivery at no additional cost, shortening our supply line while lessening the risk of overseas shipping delays.
“NPP’s wide variety of batteries provides us with a secure source of one of the important components in golf carts, low-speed vehicles, and eventually lithium batteries for the high-speed Terra-E Truck in development as well as other high-speed vehicles.”
NPP has three facilities in China’s Guangdong, Hunan and Henan provinces as well as the plant in California.
A report by market analysis firm Grand View Research recently predicted a compound annual growth rate for the lithium-ion battery market of 15% up to 2027, to $80 billion. The lead-acid battery market is forecast to surpass $93 billion by that date, with a CAGR of 5.9%.