Solid-state batteries are one of the most promising technologies for the future. The race to have the best batteries, and to have them before anyone else, is bearing fruit to the point that many manufacturers are advancing the deadlines they had planned. The latest to do so has been Gotion High-Tech, one of the largest battery manufacturers in China, which has announced that it will start mass-produce semi-solid-state batteries this year.
At a recent conference, Zhang Hongli, Gotion’s vice president of engineering research, announced the Chinese company’s plans for semi-solid-state (or semi-solid electrolyte) batteries. A transition technology, we could say, between the current batteries with liquid electrolyte and the promising solid electrolyte batteries.
Gotion batteries are ternary lithium batteries, with semi-solid electrolyte and a energy density of 360 Wh/kg, much higher than the 210 Wh/kg of the company’s current conventional lithium batteries. However, there is still room for improvement with this technology: the company claims to have built several prototypes of a semi-solid state battery with an energy density of 400 Wh/kg in the laboratory.
Semi-solid state batteries will be mass-produced this year, as confirmed by the company, which we remember is one of Volkswagen’s strategic partners in China. Gotion and Volkswagen have jointly developed lithium and LFP ternary cells for mass production, and are currently working to develop cells for the European market.
To put the energy density mentioned above in context, two examples are worth: Tesla NMC 18650 batteries (manufactured by Panasonic) have an energy density around 260 Wh/kg. 4680 cells could easily exceed 300 Wh/kg, while current nickel- and cobalt-free lithium-ferrphosphate (LFP) batteries are around 160 Wh/kg.
Greater energy density means greater autonomy for the same size or given weight. According to Gotion chairman Li Zhen, the semi-solid-state battery will be supplied to a “Chinese high-end electric vehicle manufacturer” that will use it in a car with more than 1,000 kilometers of autonomy. Initially, everything indicated that the battery would be mounted in the NIO ET7, although NIO has not officially announced who will be the supplier of its gigantic 150 kWh battery, with which its electric saloon will reach 1,000 kilometers of autonomy approved in the NEDC cycle.
Gotion is one of the largest electric battery manufacturers in China and the world. Last year was the eighth largest manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles worldwide, capturing 2.7% market share. Last April it closed as the fourth largest manufacturer in China, with a production of 0.7 GWh during that month.