NIO & CATL Partnership An Interesting Battery Evolution

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There has been an enormous amount of innovation in the EV battery sector in the past decade or so. Ten years ago, it might have been hard to believe how much better, more energy dense, cheaper, and more influential batteries have become. However, there’s still work to do.

So many improvements in batteries are focused on two things: getting more range out of them (making them more energy dense) and making them capable of faster and faster charging. Longevity may have improved as well, but it’s not something we think about or discuss as much, in part because EV battery longevity already seemed quite good years ago, and in part because you need time to judge the matter anyway and the modern EV industry is not that old.

However, if you’re a company that’s heavily reliant on battery longevity, this is an area you’d be laser focused on. It’s just that there are few companies in that boat. However, NIO is unique. With its focus on battery swapping, one of the big benefits it offers to its customers, NIO benefits from batteries that lose capacity less quickly. So, it’s fitting that NIO has partnered with CATL to develop longer-lasting batteries.

“In the partnership, Nio and CATL will focus on long-life technology for swappable batteries, conduct joint seminars, make technological breakthroughs and innovations, and promote product applications, according to the statement,” CnEVPost writes. “CATL will also plan and develop battery systems of longer service lives for Nio’s upcoming models, the EV maker said. The two companies aim to make battery swap services available to more EV users through the long-life battery technology partnership, eliminating the need to worry about high replacement costs due to improper batteries or reduced vehicle residual values due to battery attenuation, Nio said.”

CATL has been the largest EV battery producer in the world for the past few years, with more than 30% of the global EV market. It is the only company supplying NIO with batteries for its current battery swapping system, which includes 70-kWh, 75-kWh, and 100-kWh batteries.

As the EV industry gets a little older and large volumes of EVs approach the end of their battery warranties, “it has become a pressing task to address the life span issues of batteries,” Nio founder, chairman, and CEO William Li says. “Therefore, it has become a pressing task to address the life span issues of batteries.”

Notably, while NIO has tapped some other EV battery companies for batteries for some future models, a little more than a year ago, NIO and CATL announced a big long-term partnership. They signed “a five-year comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement,” a press release stated. “The comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement further deepens CATL’s strategic partnership with NIO. The two parties will advance technological cooperation in new brands, new projects and new markets, improve supply-demand coordination, propel overseas expansion, and develop the business model centering on long service life batteries.

“CATL and NIO will continue to leverage their respective resource advantages to build a battery supply system with efficiency and synergy and improve innovation capabilities and efficiency based on advanced battery technology, thus delivering a more pleasant travel experience to smart electric vehicle users.”

Of course, everyone and their brother is working on solid-state batteries, and those are supposed to be longer lasting batteries than current lithium-ion batteries, but we don’t have any real insight into what NIO and CATL will be working on when it comes to battery chemistries.


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