Companies that are involved in the lithium battery supply chain have been expanding their presence in the solid-state battery segment in the recent years. Among them, major Chinese lithium supplier Ganfeng Lithium has just launched a major project to develop solid-state batteries and scale up production for the related products.
On July 30, Ganfeng initiated construction on a new industrial park that is designated for the development of new and advanced lithium battery technologies. The industrial park is located in Liangjiang New Area of Chongqing, a direct-administered municipality in China’s Sichuan Province. The park is designed to have 10GWh per year of production capacity for battery cells and 10GWh per year of production capacity for battery packs. It is currently the largest solid-state battery base in China that is under development.
The park will span an area of 630 mu with facility buildings taking up 570,000 square meters. The main sections of the park include a solid-state battery cell manufacturing plant, a battery pack manufacturing plant, and an R&D center.
Ganfeng entered the solid-state battery segment very early on. In 2016, the company set up an R&D center for studying solid-state battery technologies and a production line for polymer lithium batteries. The company wanted to not only develop but also commercialize its solid-state battery technologies as soon as possible.
Fast-forward to this January, Ganfeng and Dongfeng Motor manufactured their first co-developed electric vehicle that is powered by solid-state batteries. Furthermore, Ganfeng has started to apply its solid-state battery technologies to end products such as energy storage systems, consumer electronics, etc. The company touts that its solid-state batteries offer a higher energy density as well as a higher level of operational safety.
Presently, Ganfeng’s subsidiary Jiangxi Ganfeng Battery Technology has set up 2GWh per year for solid-state lithium batteries and 7GWh per year for LFP batteries in Xinyu, a city in China’s Jiangxi Province. The establishment of the solid-state battery base in Chongqing will significantly enhance the overall manufacturing capability of Ganfeng and create a stable and high-quality supply source for customers in the downstream sections of the supply chain.
Battery and Car Manufacturers in China and Other Regions Are Rapidly Establishing Foothold in Solid-State Battery Segment
TrendForce points out that besides Ganfeng, many other battery suppliers and carmakers around the world are also committing more and more resources into the development of solid-state batteries. Examples include CATL, BYD, Gotion Hi-Tech, SAIC Motor, VW, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Ford, and NIO.
On July 4, BMW announced that it is preparing to mass produce solid-state batteries and will be setting up a pilot production line in Germany. Battery and battery component suppliers including Samsung SDI, CIS, Hana Technology, EcoproBM, and Inchems are currently being considered by BMW as a potential partner for this project.
Then, on July 6, SAIC and QingTao Energy Development signed an agreement to jointly set up a laboratory for the development of solid-state batteries that could extend the range of an electric vehicle beyond 1,000km. A battery product is expected to be unveiled next year in a new vehicle model from SAIC.
Also on July 6, news agencies reported that BMW has made the formal decision to manufacture solid-state batteries in-house. According to their coverage, BMW will place the pilot production line in Patersdorf, a municipality near its HQ in Munich. The initial investment in the pilot production line has already surpassed EUR 170 million. In a timetable presented by BMW earlier, the company aims to launch a vehicle model that adopts a solid-state battery technology by 2025 and start mass producing vehicles that are powered by the same technology by 2030.
Even before BMW made these announcements this year, it had joined Ford in investing in a US-based start-up called Solid Power. BMW had planned to procure solid-state batteries from Solid Power and test them in its experimental vehicles.
Looking at Chinese battery suppliers, SVOLT announced on July 19 that its laboratory has developed China’s first all-solid-state battery. This prototype battery is at the 20 ampere level and has a sulfur-based cathode. The energy density per cell can reach 350-400Wh per kg. If SVOLT’s all-solid-state battery is commercialized and enters the mass production phase, then there is the possibility that the range of electric vehicles could extend beyond 1,000km. A day after SVOLT’s announcement, Easpring, which is a major Chinese supplier for battery materials, launched six new products, including a dual-phase composite cathode and an electrolyte that are both purposed for solid-state batteries.
Robin Zeng, chairman of CATL, also recently told news media that his company will be expanding into other battery technology fields this year. Examples include solid-state batteries, cobalt-free batteries, Li-air batteries, Na-ion batteries, and a new type of battery based on a “condensed configuration”.
In other related news, NIO recently stated its supplier will begin shipping semi-solid-state batteries in the fourth quarter of this year. In terms of features, NIO’s 150kWh semi-solid-state battery has a high-nickel cathode, a Si-based anode, semi-solid electrolyte, and a special separator. NIO also said this battery will serve as interim solution in the transition to an all-solid-state battery technology. NIO and HiPhi both plan to launch a mass-production vehicle model powered by semi-solid-state batteries near the end of 2023 or at the start of 2024.
This article is a translation of a Chinese article written by Wendy at TrendForce. It contains information that is either sourced from other news outlets or accessible in the public domain. Some Chinese names are transcribed into English using Hanyu Pinyin.