He expects burgeoning demand for infotainment, connectivity and collision avoidance to escalate a vehicle's electricity consumption.
An absorbent glass mat battery paired with a 48-volt electrical system can meet those needs, Walicki says. "Safety, connectivity and infotainment are moving from high-end vehicles to mass-produced vehicles," he said. "It's what consumers want."
It will take a decade or so to see whether Walicki was right to opt out of the market for high-voltage EV batteries.
Big rivals such as consumer electronics makers Panasonic and LG Chem are aggressively expanding into the EV battery market. Panasonic, for example, has invested $1.6 billion in Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada, and it says it is willing to spend more.
Walicki concedes that full EVs and plug-in hybrids could account for 8 to 10 percent of global vehicle production by 2025.
But he also expects production of vehicles with internal combustion engines to increase through 2030 and beyond, guaranteeing robust demand for his new-generation batteries.
"We're bullish — absolutely bullish," Walicki said. "Cars will have low-voltage batteries for many years to come."