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HomeAutomotive news China, Europe, USAEV / Electric vehicleNio supplier among 6 companies that may get solid-state battery R&D boost

Nio supplier among 6 companies that may get solid-state battery R&D boost

According to a China Daily report six battery producers may get a 6 billion yuan (827 million USD) government investment into solid-state  battery R&D. The government money would be divided between CATL, BYD, FAW, SAIC, Geely and WeLion. The latter is the supplier of Nio’s semi-solid state 150 kWh battery pack. Given that WeLion, a relatively small company, is on the list and other companies such as GAC and Great Wall which have announced solid-state battery achievements are not on the list seems notable.

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Quite how the six companies have been selected is a mystery with many companies known to be working on solid-state batteries excluded. All that has been announced is that the six companies are ‘qualified’ without any elaboration over what makes them so. Furthermore it is not clear whether the money will be divided equally among the six, assuming the report is even correct.

What is known is that the project is divided into seven major project areas which focus on different technical routes to successfully developing such batteries. Currently there are three main technical routes for solid-state batteries namely polymer solid-state batteries, oxide solid-state batteries and sulfide solid-state batteries.

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A true solid state battery does not contain any liquid electrolyte and the electrolyte material is completely solid. In the case of semi-solid state the mass percentage of liquid electrolyte is less than 10%. This is the situation in both the battery that WeLion produces for Nio, along with IM Motors’ Lightyear battery. In a quasi-solid state the liquid electrolyte is reduced to below 5% mass.

Currently all solid-state batteries are in the R&D stage or trial production stage. The main things stopping mass production seem to be that material and preparation technologies are not mature enough which makes the production cost too high.  

It is not completely clear what the seven major projects are but they are likely to target various roadblocks in bringing the batteries to production. It’s hoped the investment will have a catfish effect to drive the market.

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However, speaking just yesterday at the press conference of the 2024 China Automotive Industry Development (TEDA) International Forum  Xu Yanhua, Secretary-General of the China Automotive Power Battery Industry Innovation Alliance, said that he didn’t expect solid-state batteries to account for much of the Chinese market before 2035.

Press conference of the 2024 China Automotive Industry Development (TEDA) International Forum

True solid state batteries are considered to be the holy grail of battery technology thanks to their high energy density, stability and by extension safety, and the ability to operate across a wide range of temperatures. In a normal battery there is a liquid electrolyte which carries the ions but in a solid state battery all parts are solid.

Current battery technology is rapidly reaching the upper limits of energy density. For liquid high-nickel ternary lithium-ion cells the upper limit is estimated to be 350-400 Wh/kg whereas for lithium manganese iron phosphate batteries it’s believed to be only 250 Wh/kg.

Editor’s note:

The amount especially when shared between six companies is not particularly large.

Sources: East Money, Autohome,

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