and one of China's top universities, the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), officially launched a smart electric vehicle joint lab on August 4.

The lab announced the development plan and project operation mechanism for 2021-2022 and released more than 20 intended topics including autonomous driving system engineering, autonomous driving algorithm, intelligent hardware, information security and big data, electric core material, and power management.

According to the plan, the lab will select a number of projects with cutting-edge topics to enter the joint R&D stage in September this year.

USTC's scientific research strength in China is almost comparable to that of Tsinghua University and Peking University. It is located in Hefei, Anhui Province, which is also the headquarters of NIO China and is home to the JAC NIO factory.

On April 30, NIO and the USTC signed a strategic cooperation agreement to cooperate in technology research and talent training.

The establishment of the joint lab is part of the agreement to carry out joint research on cutting-edge scientific issues.

Notably, late last month CnEVPost mentioned that the USTC professor Ma Cheng's team announced that they have successfully developed a new chloride solid-state electrolyte material, lithium zirconium chloride, which is expected to accelerate the commercialization of solid-state batteries.

Lithium zirconium chloride is the first high-performance chloride solid-state electrolyte based on tetravalent cations, which overcomes the bottleneck of difficulty in both production cost and comprehensive performance and is expected to advance the commercialization of all-solid-state batteries, according to the team.

The team successfully reduced the cost of the raw material to $1.38/m2 for 50 micron thickness, compared to $23.05/m2 for the previous cheapest chloride solid-state electrolyte.

NIO brought this new battery into the spotlight earlier this year when it announced at the launch of its flagship sedan, the ET7, that the model would be powered by a 150 KWh solid-state battery.

There were subsequent questions that this new technology was still immature and a long way from mass use.

William Li, founder, chairman and CEO of NIO, said on NIO Day that the solid-state battery in the NIO ET7 is a "semi-solid-state battery" to be more precise.