NIO to develop its own power battery, invested 220 million to build R&D center including a cell production line


On May 24th, we learned from the environmental information disclosure platform of Shanghai enterprises and institutions that Shanghai NIO Automobile Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “NIO”) plans to build a new R&D project in Anting Town, Jiading District, Shanghai, including engaging in 31 R&D laboratories for lithium-ion battery cell and battery pack research and development, as well as a lithium-ion cell trial production line and a battery pack packing line, it planned to invest 218.5 million yuan (~32.83 million US Dollars) and are expected to be constructed from August to October this year.

It is particularly worth mentioning that in the engineering analysis of the construction project, NIO made it clear that the construction of the trial production line of this project intends to conduct preliminary exploration for possible large-scale production in the subsequent development process, and the trial production samples are used for subsequent in-depth development. This may be the official start of NIO’s battery manufacturing.

NIO said that the R&D laboratory aims to explore the charging and discharging performance, temperature performance, safety performance, etc. of lithium-ion cells and battery packs under different physical experimental conditions such as temperature, tensile force, and humidity. The physical and chemical properties, proportions, modification conditions of battery core materials, optimized conditions for liquid injection, and optimized conditions for battery packaging are expected to be engaged in research and development for about 250 days and 400 employees. Lithium-ion cell trial production line and battery pack line are engaged in trial production of lithium-ion cells and battery packs. The construction of this project’s trial production line lays a good foundation for possible large-scale production in the subsequent development process, and trial production samples are used for subsequent in-depth development. However, the number of trial production of lithium-ion cells and battery packs was blacked out in the EIA report and did not disclose.

The importance of power batteries to new energy vehicles is self-evident, and NIO has always attached great importance to this. In September last year, NIO officially launched the ternary iron-lithium battery pack (75kWh) with higher energy density and longer battery life, thus becoming the first car company in the world to mass-produce the ternary iron-lithium technology. According to Zeng Shizhe, Vice President of NIO Battery System, through NIO’s patented technology, NIO’s standard battery pack (75kWh) has achieved excellent low-temperature endurance performance and accurate power estimation capabilities, which can provide users with the same battery pack as ternary lithium battery packs. level performance. For example, compared with the lithium iron phosphate battery pack, in the extremely cold environment of 12 hours, the minimum temperature of the NIO ternary iron lithium standard battery pack is increased by 40%, and the temperature uniformity is increased by 60%. It is worth mentioning that the NIO ternary iron lithium standard battery pack (75kWh) applies a new generation of CTP technology, that is, a battery pack is directly composed of a single battery cell, which simplifies the manufacturing and assembly by 10%; at the same time, the volume utilization rate of the battery pack is increased by 5%, and the energy density is increased by 14%, reaching 142Wh/kg.

In 2018, NIO has taken battery swapping and battery leasing as its core business model since launching the ES8, and launched the BaaS service (Battery as a Service) in August 2020. In the same month, NIO established a battery business company, Wuhan Weineng Battery, to provide services such as battery rental, charge customers for battery charging fees on a monthly basis, and later introduce CATL as a shareholder. On February 24 this year, Wei Rui Investment, an affiliate of NIO, invested in SUNWODA as one of the leaders, investing 250 million and holding 2% of the shares. NIO has laid out solid-state batteries in advance. NIO is cooperating with Welion (originated from the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences), and plans to launch a hybrid solid-liquid battery with a battery pack of 150 kWh, an energy density of 360Wh/kg, and a range of 1,000 kilometers on a single charge based on the luxury electric sedan ET7. It is expected to start mass production at the end of this year or the first half of next year. In the future, batteries with higher specific energy will be developed, including 400Wh/kg hybrid solid-liquid batteries.

It is worth noting that the site of the NIO’s new project is located in Anting Town, Shanghai, and Anting Town is also the location of NIO Shanghai’s first and second test centers. Testing and R&D business of the whole system of new energy and intelligent vehicles such as vehicle electronic architecture integration, EIC control systems, power management and charging and swapping facilities, after-sales service, spare parts management and distribution. The new power battery project is located in Anting Town, which will complement NIO’s two experimental centers, and the technology will be implemented quickly. The reason for NIO’s entry into the power battery may be that the battery is the core component of electric vehicles. Mastering the self-developed power battery technology can better occupy the technological high ground, and at the same time, the core competitiveness of NIO will also be more advantageous.