NIO Invests $273M to Set Up Battery Tech Firm

According to Chinese business data platform Aiqicha, a new entity called NIO Battery Technology (Anhui) Co., Ltd. was established on October 21, with NIO founder William Li serving as chairman and with registered capital of 2 billion ($273 million). The company is 100% controlled by EV firm NIO.

With the rising cost of batteries, Chinese car companies are increasingly taking the initiative to extend into the research and development of lithium-ion batteries. At the end of May this year, a message publicized by an environmental information disclosure platform in Shanghai revealed that NIO will invest 218.5 million yuan to build 31 new research and development laboratories for battery cells and battery packs in Jiading District of Shanghai, and that it will lay out a trial production line for lithium-ion battery cells and battery packs.

31 R&D laboratories are engaged in tests for lithium-ion battery charging and discharging, temperature, sealing, safety, withstand voltage and other areas. However, detailed information about lithium-ion battery cell trial production line and battery pack line has not been disclosed yet.

NIO‘s most notable battery business is its leasing and swapping stations. The firm established a special battery asset management company named Wuhan Weineng in August 2020, and CATL, a battery supplier of NIO, took 25% of the shares.

In the first half of 2022, NIO‘s R&D expenditure reached 3.911 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 149.7%, which is mainly due to increases in the cost of R&D personnel and the new products and technologies research. William Li said at a meeting after the release of its first-quarter financial report that the company will continue to increase investment in batteries, and that a related team consisting of more than 400 people has been formed to release 800V high-voltage battery packs in 2024.

SEE ALSO: CEO William Li: NIO to Achieve Profitability in Shorter Time Than Tesla

According to a report by LatePost in August, NIO is developing lithium ferromanganese phosphate and 4680 batteries, with plans to mass-produce them. The 4680 battery, which was first proposed by Tesla, is the latest generation of cylindrical battery technology. In the first quarter of this year, Tesla produced this battery in small batches at its Texas factory, installing them in Model Ys. Battery companies such as LG Energy Solution, Panasonic and EVE Energy are also now researching 4680 batteries.

Lithium ferromanganese phosphate batteries are equivalent to an upgraded version of lithium iron phosphate batteries, which are similar in cost but 15%-20% higher in terms of energy density. CATL announced the production of this kind of battery in July this year. Sunwoda and BYD are also developing similar technologies.