There is a shakeup coming to the ultracapacitor industry, and it is going to be very interesting. Having been around people who participated in the formative years of the ultracapacitor industry (and having participated in a few of them myself), I have seen it evolve from a vision to a science experiment to a breakthrough to a real disruptive technology to a market development activity to a viable industry with realized success and huge potential. As ultracapacitor technology is proven and the industry continues its growth, we will see the competition whittled down, based on the results customers are seeing.
Along the way, many have recognized the opportunity ultracapacitors present for wind, rail, trucking, automotive, grid and other applications. They see the potential, they monitor the success of the leaders, they find an angle and they jump in. Several companies have been in from the beginning, several have jumped in along the way and lately, a significant number are looking to make a mark. This trend cannot go on continuously, however.
As a rising technology in emerging markets (amid the electrification of everything), ultracapacitors have had and will have short-term anxieties, but the adoption trend is clear and the momentum strongly continues up and to the right. That means the total available market is growing and is there for those who can capitalize on it.
The battery energy storage industry has already been through what is about to happen in the ultracapacitor industry — the establishment of a strong core of market-dominant providers along with a second tier of good solid competitors. The remaining companies are left fighting to fit into one of those two categories, but not everyone can fit so there will be a consolidation in the industry. It has happened and is happening in the battery market and it is going to happen in the ultracap market, leaving only the strongest technology options for customers.
Capitalizing on a growing market is about timing, vision and execution in all facets of the business. In such a dynamic market environment, there will be little tolerance for false claims, unsustainable business models and anything less than the highest level of business ethics in all respects. The survivors will be those with the ability to answer the call and meet customers’ demands when the time is right. This can only happen by running a healthy business with integrity, being close to and interacting with customers with deliberate purpose and partnership, and appropriately balancing the needs of all stakeholders. With this approach, a company will maximize its potential to live to fight another day and continue to deliver the best power solutions to meet customers’ needs.