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CATL Claims Battery Materials Breakthrough without Solid-State

Automotive battery giant CATL this year expects to begin mass production of its alternative materials batteries claiming they will perform better and cost less than nickel and cobalt-based ones.

Its M3P batteries will have greater energy density and perform better than lithium-ion phosphate batteries, claims its chairman reported by Reuters. They will also be cheaper than nickel and cobalt-based batteries, chairman Zeng Yuqun told an online investor briefing. Last August, the company revealed it was developing the new technology that it says will see a BEV a range of 430 miles per charge when combined with CATL's next generation of battery-pack technology.

Zeng said his company struggles to come up with a solid-state battery that was feasible and competitive, a technology that is being researched by the world’s two biggest automakers, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen. CATL, which supplies include Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW and Ford, is the world's biggest battery maker producing more than a third of the sales of batteries for BEVs worldwide. The company's dominance attracted attention from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who said earlier this month he was both “pleased and concerned” over its rise.

Zeng said new energy vehicle sales in China have been recently affected by inventory clearance efforts by combustion engine car makers ahead of a change in emissions rules but he remained confident about the overall EV sales outlook. More than 40 brands have slashed vehicle prices in China in recent months, deepening a price war ignited by Tesla in January.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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