Ronbay Will Supply Cathode Materials to WeLion for Development of Solid-State EV Batteries

published: 2022-05-03 9:30 | editor: | category: News

Solid-state batteries are regarded as the main direction in the development of the next generation of EV batteries due to their potential advantages such as higher energy density, smaller form factor, and lower safety risk. Hence, many carmakers and battery manufacturers around the world have been ramping up efforts in the related R&D.

On April 26, Ronbay New Energy Technology announced that it has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with WeLion. Both parties will collaborate in a comprehensive and in-depth manner on the development of solid-state batteries. The scope of collaboration encompasses all-solid-state batteries, semi-solid-state batteries (hybrid solid-liquid Li-ion batteries), battery materials, and technology strategies. With this alliance, both parties are expected to gain a larger market share for such products in the future.

Ronbay manufactures cathode materials for lithium batteries and their precursors. It touts itself as a leading supplier for ternary cathodes with ultra-high nickel content (e.g., NCM and NCA). WeLion develops hybrid solid-liquid Li-ion batteries and all-solid-state batteries for EVs, energy storage systems, and consumer electronics. Both companies are based in China.

According to the announcement made on April 26, Ronbay will become WeLion’s primary supplier for ternary cathodes with high nickel content. Specifically, WeLion will purchase no less than 30,000 metric tons of cathode materials from Ronbay during the period from 2022 to 2025.

Established in 2016 and headquartered in Beijing, WeLion has obtained technologies from the Laboratory of Renewable Energy under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The company actually serves as the only platform for the commercialization of the solid-state battery technologies from the Laboratory. Also, with this kind of institutional support, WeLion is expected to commence volume production for its hybrid batteries near the end of this year.

Currently, WeLion has three production bases that are respectively located in Fangshan (Beijing), Liyang (Jiangsu Province), and Huzhou (Zhejiang Province). The company’s main offerings are cell and modules of semi- and all-solid-state varieties.

According to the information provided by Qcc.com, the largest shareholder of WeLion is Hefei Blue Mileage Venture Capital Partnership that has a share ownership ratio of 19:2. William Li, cofounder and CEO of Chinese EV manufacturer NIO, is among the investors of this VC.

As of this March, WeLion has completed seven fundraising rounds. Investors include Hubei Xiaomi Changjiang Industry Fund Partnership, Hubble Technology Investment, CASVC, Tianqi Lithium, Geely, Shunwei Capital Partners GP, IDG Capital, etc.

At the 2022 edition of China EV 100 Forum that was held earlier this March, WeLion’s founder Li Hong revealed that it is working with NIO to develop a hybrid battery that offers a driving range of 1,000km on a single charge. This battery is designed with the specifications of the electric sedan NIO ET7 in mind. It has an energy density of 360Wh/kg and a storage capacity of 150kWh. Li said that volume production is expected to start near the end of this year or in the first half of next year.

Ronbay said that the latest supply deal is an indication that its modified and advanced ternary cathodes have risen to a higher level with respect to energy density, cycle life, operational safety, etc. Furthermore, these high-nickel ternary cathodes are expected to be the first among cathodes to reach full-scale commercialization and batch shipments for the application of solid-state EV batteries. Going forward, these kinds of products will be the main driver of innovation and business growth for the company.

This article is a translation of a Chinese article written by Martin at TrendForce. It contains information that is either sourced from other news outlets or accessible in the public domain.

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