Is NIO making or just buying their 150kWh Solid State Battery from CATL?

NIO's ET7 could have a 1,000km range with a new 150kWh solid state battery. ...

Last night during NIO Day, the company announced a massive 150kWh battery with a difference. For a while now the industry has lusted after solid state batteries.

These are heralded as being the next big innovation in electric vehicle batteries, as they offer much higher energy density, great cycle life, lower costs and can accept a faster rate of charge (80% in 15 minutes).

When discussing their battery capacity options for the new ET7 electric sedan, Nio confirmed the traditional lithium-ion 70kWh battery would deliver 500km+ (NEDC) range, while the 100kWh battery gets a very healthy 700km+ (NEDC) range. While those numbers would be more than adequate for most buyers, NIO wasn’t done there.

A new 150kWh solid state battery, coming at the end of 2022, would deliver the magic 1,000km (NEDC) of range.

First of all, Solid State Battery tech is brand new and only recently we saw Quantumscape announced they’d had a major breakthrough with solid state, but would only see them go into production in 2024.

If NIO has solved Solid State Batteries and can deliver them up to 2 years earlier, that’s certainly going to have massive ramifications.

When we analyse the wording (translated), used to describe NIO’s Solid-state battery, it does raise some further questions.

Nio introduced the Solid State Battery by saying

The battery capacity has been improved 20% year after year. Last month, we started the delivery of 100kWh battery. As the battery technology evolves, we ought to set higher targets for ourselves.

This is the 150kWh battery.

We adopt the most advanced production ready, solid state battery technology to improve the energy density by 50% through material and process innovations.

The 150kWh battery boasts an ultrahigh energy density of 360Wh/kg.

In this statement, NIO’s CEO William Li, didn’t chose his words carefully, he didn’t say NIO is making.. but rather NIO adopts.. This definitely indicates that NIO is simply buying the battery from a supplier (likely CATL), rather than making their own.

If this is true, then the timeline of Q4 2022 for delivery of the first Solid State Battery in a car, will be heavily exposed to delays by the 3rd party.

Regarding that energy density figure of 360Wh/kg, that beats expectations of Tesla’s new 4680 cell which is estimated to have around 300Wh/kg. This figure is important as it indicates how much stored energy can be held in a given kg. This means you can pack more power in less space, but importantly doesn’t increase the vehicle’s overall weight by as much, critical for range efficiency in EVs.

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021
6 Comments on this post.

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  • Brian
    10 January 2021 at 9:42 pm

    No, adopt meaning they’re having most of its size solid and some part of the solid state is the traditional battery, so it is a good news. NIO partnered with a Taiwanese battery solid state company to manufacture only for NIO. this is kind a part of NIOs plan to quietly go into the market before other EVs find out. The company will make that combined solid-state battery for NIO. that what is means.

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  • Manny
    11 January 2021 at 4:25 am

    What I have an issue with is that many of these companies who are claiming to be solid-state are not in fact truly solid state. QuantumScape has recently admitted it does in fact use liquid electrolyte at the cathode interface in order for the cells to have low internal impedance and create an operational battery. The same goes for Prologium (Nio partnered), which essentially is a ceramic decorated separator with liquid electrolyte. I have a few concerns about this 1.) The long standing goal of solid-state batteries is to remove battery pack cooling, will this be possible? 2.) How does implementing liquid electrolyte simplify the battery manufacturing hence reduce processing costs? 3.) By what factor is safety improved?

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    • Han
      12 January 2021 at 3:16 pm

      Nio’s boss has publicly admitted that their solid state is not full solid. However if like you said QuantumScape still also has to adopt some liquid electrolyte and cannot massively produce theirs until 2025 or later, then delivering in 22Q4 for Nio is already a major breakthrough

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  • Louis
    11 January 2021 at 7:19 am

    Contrarily to what is said in the article, Weight is not so critical for range efficiency in EVs. It is because you can regenerate the energy spent to put the mass in movement at acceleretion, when you decelerate(regenerative braking). The added losses are on bearing and tire friction. This wont be so important.

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  • Jeremy Chou
    11 January 2021 at 3:02 pm

    You’ve missed the key word:”. Thilaim is pure speculation based on the fact that they expect battery tech to enable continued growth. Nobody in the world can make a viable solid state battery, not Toyota, not NIO, not CATL.

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    • Jeremy Chou
      11 January 2021 at 3:04 pm

      Comment system messed up. What I meant to say is the key word is “target”. They are targeting 360wh/kg batteries but don’t know how to do it because nobody does.

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