Since the invention of the lithium-ion battery (LIB) in the 1980s and the subsequent commercialisation by Sony in 1991, the development was first driven by consumer electronics and later adopted by the automobile industry to also include higher power and energy applications. LIBs offer improved power and energy performance compared to the currently used lead-acid batteries. Today, the LIB is the fastest growing and most promising battery chemistry and has become a real emerging technology across a wide range of civil and defense applications.

Listed below is the timeline of lithium-ion batteries for underwater applications, as identified by GlobalData.

600BC – Philosopher Thales of Miletus noted that rubbing amber with materials such as hemp gave it a static charge.

1745 – Invention of the Leyden jar, capable of storing an electric charge. It was the original form of the capacitor.

1799 – Physicist Alessandro Volta invented the voltaic pile, the first electric battery.

1814 – Davy and Faraday met Volta in Milan.

1859 – Gaston Planté invented the lead-acid battery.

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1883 – A Polish engineer, Stefan Drzewiecki, installed onboard a submarine an electric motor and electric batteries for its power supply.

1901 – Thomas Edison developed a nickel-iron battery.

1912 – Edison and Ford collaborated to create a cheap EV.

1914 – Ford-Edison project cancelled over a dispute about batteries.

1976 – Exxon began manufacturing the first rechargeable lithium battery, but it was beset by safety problems.

1980 – John Goodenough developed a lithium-cobalt-oxygen battery, the precursor to today’s lithium-ion technology.

1991 – Sony and Asahi Kasei released the first commercial lithium-ion battery.

1994 – Motorola introduced lithium-ion batteries for its MicroTAC cellular phones.

2006 – Prototypes of the Tesla Roadster battery electric vehicle sports car were revealed to the public.

2007 – Apple launched the iPhone, which included a lithium-ion battery.

2008 – GM chose LG Chem to supply batteries for the Chevrolet Volt hybrid vehicle.

2009 – The US government awarded $2bn in grants to developers of advanced battery systems.

2012 – US government-funded A123 systems filed for bankruptcy, one of many battery start-ups to go under.

2014 – Tesla and Panasonic agreed to cooperate on construction of a large-scale battery manufacturing plant.

2015 – Tesla announced the Powerwall rechargeable home battery.

2016 – BYD announced the world’s biggest EV sales volumes, mostly electric buses in China.

2017 – UK Faraday Institution established to develop future battery technology.

2018 – China’s CATL overtook Panasonic as the world’s biggest battery company.

2018 – Global EV sales reached 2 million.

2020 – Tesla brings Shanghai Mega-Factory on stream.

2020 – Japan commissioned its first submarine running on lithium-ion batteries.

2022 – The cost of Li-ion batteries falls below $100 per KWhr.

2023 – Rising global tension over China’s battery materials and oligopoly.

2025 – South Korea launches its first lithium ion powered submarine.

2025 – Battery powered grid storage plants more economical than natural gas plants.

2025 – Apple enters the EV market.

2026 – Breakthrough in scaling up graphene based solid state batteries.

2027 – Energy storage becomes as big a business for Tesla as cars.

2028 – Battery EVs surpass hybrids in global sales.

2028 – Number of battery mega- factories reaches 98, with 70 in China.

2030 – EV sales reach 28 million.

This is an edited extract from the Lithium-ion Batteries for Underwater Applications – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.