NIO's 150-kWh semi-solid-state battery supplier is Beijing-based WeLion New Energy Technology, also known as Solid State Lion, tech media outlet 36kr said today, citing sources familiar with the matter.
WeLion will receive an investment of about RMB 500 million ($78 million) from investors including Xiaomi and Huawei, valued at RMB 5 billion, the report said, adding that Huawei, Xiaomi and Shunwei Capital had signed off on the investment in August.
NIO has provided significant resources to help WeLion deliver the battery on time, the report said, citing unnamed investors.
The report argues that the evidence that supports WeLion being a supplier of the semi-solid-state batteries to NIO is that Zeng Shuxiang, CEO of XPT, NIO's electric drive division, is a director of WeLion.
This would be the first time NIO has brought in a second battery supplier since its partnership with CATL. NIO is CATL's second largest passenger car customer after Tesla in terms of installed battery capacity.
NIO's 150-kWh battery pack features not only a semi-solid-state battery solution but also ultra-high nickel technology, and the latter's supplier is likely to remain CATL, 36kr said.
The outcome of the partnership with NIO will determine whether WeLion can gain a firm foothold in the power battery industry, and Huawei and Xiaomi are betting on the company in large part because they are optimistic about NIO's support for it, the report said.
Information on WeLion's official website shows that it was founded in 2016, focusing on the development and production of hybrid electrolyte lithium-ion batteries and all-solid-state lithium batteries.
The company is the sole industrialization platform for solid-state battery technology from the Clean Energy Laboratory of the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, according to its official website.
NIO said at the launch of its flagship sedan NIO ET7 at the NIO Day 2020 event on January 9 that the model would be offered in a future version with a 150-kWh solid-state battery, giving it an NEDC range of 1,000 km.
NIO's aggressive goal was once met with skepticism, given that solid-state battery technology has not yet begun commercial mass production.
William Li, founder, chairman and CEO of NIO, clarified in an interview after NIO Day that the NIO ET7's solid-state battery is more accurately described as a "semi-solid-state battery".
36kr's report on NIO's semi-solid-state battery supplier conflicts with CnEVPost's report earlier this week that the supplier may be Hefei-based Gotion High-Tech.
Gotion High-Tech will supply a local manufacturer of high-end pure electric vehicles with a semi-solid-state battery that achieves a range of more than 1,000 kilometers, said the company's chairman Li Chen.
He made the remarks at the New Energy Vehicle Industry Development Forum at the 2021 World Manufacturing Congress on November 20, according to a transcript obtained by CnEVPost. Although he did not directly name the car company, we previously speculated it could be NIO.
Subsequently, numerous Chinese reports have made the same guess, suggesting that the information provided by Li of Gotion High-Tech is consistent with NIO.