NIO’s previously mentioned 800V high-voltage battery is the 4680-type battery, which is planned to be equipped into NIO’s third-generation platform NT 3.0, according to local media.
NIO is in-house developing lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) and 4680-type batteries and plans to mass produce them for the NIO brand and sub-brand codenamed ALPS, local media LatePost reported today.
In a conference call following the June 9 announcement of its first-quarter earnings report, NIO founder, chairman and CEO William Li confirmed that the company will make batteries.
NIO has a battery team of more than 400 people to research areas including battery materials, cells, and battery management systems to fully establish battery system development and industrialization capabilities, he said at the time.
The company will put its new battery pack into production in 2024, which will support 800V high-voltage fast charging, according to Li.
The 800V high-voltage battery Li mentioned is the 4680 battery, which is planned to be carried in NIO’s third-generation NT 3.0 platform, according to LatePost’s report.
The 4680 battery route was first proposed by Tesla and is the latest generation of cylindrical battery technology from the US electric vehicle maker.
The battery reached mass production at Tesla’s Texas plant in the first quarter of this year and is featured in the Model Y in the US.
In addition to the high-performance 4680 battery, NIO is also developing a lower-cost LMFP battery, which is equivalent to an upgraded version of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, with similar costs, but 15-20 percent higher energy density, according to LatePost.
NIO will go into small-scale production of LMFP batteries for the ALPS brand, which is targeting the RMB 200,000-300,000 market and is expected to hit the market in 2024, the report said.
On April 29, 2021, NeoPark, an electric vehicle industrial park jointly promoted by NIO and the Hefei municipal government, started construction with a planned annual production capacity of 1 million vehicles and 100 GWh of batteries.
NIO’s battery plant in Hefei will put LMFP batteries into production first , LatePost said, citing people close to the project.
In addition to the battery factory in Hefei, NIO is also building a battery pilot line in Shanghai for battery R&D trials and testing, the report said.
Citing an environmental assessment report, CnEVPost reported on May 24 that NIO plans to invest RMB 218.5 million ($32.8 million) in Shanghai to build a lithium battery lab and cell trial line.
NIO has also formed a battery industrialization division with subdivisions for advanced labs, battery equipment processes, and factory digitization, according to LatePost.
The head of the division, Ning Hailong, was formerly the director of hardware and process engineering for Panasonic North America and was in charge of battery engineering at Tesla’s Nevada plant, a joint venture with Panasonic, before joining NIO in September 2021, according to the report.
Batteries are a major strategic placement for NIO in the next phase. Judging from its current input, the company will gradually transition from relying on suppliers for battery supply to eventually producing mainly itself, the report said, adding that NIO’s batteries may also be able to supply other car companies.
In the short term, however, NIO’s goal in developing batteries is not primarily to supply itself, but to have more say in negotiations with battery makers, LatePost said, citing a source familiar with the matter.
This seems to echo another local media report yesterday.
On August 23, 36kr reported that NIO’s sub-brand ALPS has implemented an open power battery sourcing strategy, securing battery supply partnerships with companies including CALB and BYD’s battery business unit FinDreams Battery.
The ALPS brand will use CALB’s ternary One-Stop battery solution, which is already in the early stages of development, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
NIO will also purchase FinDreams’ battery products for use in ALPS-branded vehicles, 36kr said, repeating a previous report.
Unlike the NIO brand, ALPS has adopted an open cooperation stance, introducing not only CALB and FinDreams, but also approaching suppliers including Eve Energy and Svolt Energy, the 36kr report said.