WeLion expects to begin supplying semi-solid-state battery cells to in volume in April 2024, depending on Nio's needs.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

Beijing WeLion New Energy Technology, Nio's (NYSE: NIO) supplier of semi-solid-state battery cells, is expected to start supplying it in volume early in the second quarter of next year, after making its first delivery in June this year.

WeLion expects to start supplying semi-solid batteries to Nio in volume in April 2024, local media outlet Jiemian said in a report yesterday, citing the battery maker.

The exact scale of supply will be based on Nio's demand, and the overall pace should creep up gradually, WeLion said.

Nio unveiled the 150-kWh semi-solid-state battery when it launched its flagship sedan, the Nio ET7, at the January 9, 2021 Nio Day 2020 event.

On December 17, Nio founder, chairman, and CEO William Li drove an ET7 equipped with the battery pack in a range challenge, completing 1,044 kilometers at 3 percent power remaining.

The 150-kWh semi-solid-state battery pack, in addition to chemical formulation upgrades, also utilizes a CTP (cell to pack) structure that integrates the battery cells directly into the pack, eliminating the need of traditional modules, resulting in higher energy density, Jiemian's report noted.

For a battery pack, the smallest unit is the battery cells, and they are usually first integrated into modules, which are used to assemble the pack.

WeLion began delivering 360 Wh/kg lithium battery cells to Nio on June 30, with a delivery ceremony held in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, where its manufacturing facility is located.

WeLion installed 0.41 GWh of power batteries in November and ranked 12th in China's power battery market with a 0.92 percent share, according to data released on December 11 by the China Automotive Battery Innovation Alliance (CABIA).

CABIA publishes a ranking of the top 15 battery makers with the highest installed base of power batteries in its monthly report, and that was the first time WeLion has been one of the top 15 in the overall market.

The 150-kWh battery pack has more than 50 percent more capacity than the vast majority of current battery packs, but more than doubles the cost to about RMB 300,000 yuan ($42,070), another local media outlet, LatePost, said in a report yesterday.

The battery cells were developed by WeLion, with Nio providing some technical and financial support, according to the report.

Such battery packs would require an investment of about RMB 1 billion from testing to small-scale mass production, double that of mainstream power batteries, LatePost said, citing an estimate from a power battery industry source.

Nio originally planned to co-develop a high energy density semi-solid-state battery with Chinese power battery giant , but was rejected because of high costs, according to LatePost.

Nio only then chose WeLion, which has accumulated technology but has never mass-produced automotive batteries, according to the report.

WeLion aims to produce 1,000 units of 150-kWh battery packs this year, LatePost's report said, adding that Nio may have to bear about RMB 300 million in costs, based on a cost of RMB 300,000 each.

($1 = RMB 7.1311)

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