Chinese electric vehicle maker NIO is looking for talent for its battery-making operations. Shawn Hao, a former senior quality manager of batteries at Apple, and Zack IZAKI, a former general manager at Panasonic for battery technology in North America, have joined NIO, reporting to Zeng Shuxiang, vice president of the company, 36Kr reported.
Shawn Hao has already worked for DaimlerChrysler AG and A123, a battery company. In 2012, Hao joined Apple and was responsible for the company’s battery technology management and supplier quality management for mobile phones. In August 2015, Hao switched over to the automobile project of Apple. However, the technology giant’s car-building project has not been progressing smoothly. In October 2020, Hao ended his 8-year and 7-month Apple career.
Meanwhile, Zack IZAKI has led the application of Panasonic batteries in North America. At the Nevada Factory jointly built by Panasonic and Tesla, he set up an engineering team to produce batteries for the Model 3.
Since NIO announced it would start manufacturing its own batteries last year, the company has devoted considerable resources to this business. On February 24, the first phase of a large cylindrical battery factory with a planned production capacity of 40GWh started construction. On the same day, William Li, chairman and CEO of the company, disclosed that its battery R&D team has over 800 people, and the annual R&D investment in this sector is expected to exceed 1 billion yuan ($144 million). CALB, a battery maker which has ranked third for installed capacity for two consecutive years, has invested only 300 million yuan for R&D in 2021.
Batteries are the core component of EVs and are related to cruising range and charging speed. In an internal meeting at the end of last year, Li stated that batteries account for 40% of the vehicle cost, which means that NIO could see an extra gross profit of 8% based if it developed its own batteries. During the teleconference on March 1, Li set NIO a target of selling 240,000 vehicles throughout 2023.
Producing batteries by car companies is nothing new. Great Wall Motor-backed SVOLT started its own listing application last year. GAC established Yinpai Battery, and started the construction of a battery production base in Guangzhou in November last year. Other EV companies like NIO also have formed self-made battery solutions, but have not yet decided whether to put them into mass production.