As the demand growth slows down and the supply within the industry chain gradually increases, the market holds varying opinions on the Smart Beta of the lithium industry chain. Consequently, since the second half of 2022, new technologies such as lithium manganese iron phosphate, composite collectors, sodium-ion batteries, and 4680 battery have demonstrated superior performance.
This article aims to present an overview of the new lithium-ion technologies by mid-2023.
The M3P/Lithium manganese iron phosphate technology is set to achieve mass production and delivery in 2023.
In 2022, the project could be finalized, and samples could be sent for verification, with mass production and delivery commencing in 2023. The concept of lithium manganese iron phosphate has been long-standing; however, its industrialization has been hindered by an unstable voltage platform and precipitation of manganese elements. In 2022, CATL introduced M3P (a new phosphate system ternary) and actively promoted sample verification among vehicle enterprises, signifying an acceleration of its industrialization.
In terms of progress, Dynanomic launched the production capacity for new phosphate-based cathodes, which entered trial production in September 2022. It successfully passed batch verification by battery customers. Additionally, CATL announced in March 2023 that it would commence mass production and delivery of M3P batteries within the year.
Recently, according to 36Kr, the battery pack for the standard range of the updated Model 3 will undergo an update. It will transition from the 60KWh lithium iron phosphate version to the 66KWh M3P version, confirming that industrialization is imminent. In addition to Tesla's promotion, pioneers like CATL and Dynanomic are also accelerating the development of lithium manganese iron phosphate within the industry chain.
Regarding battery factories, Gotion High-Tech unveiled the manganese-doped L600 LMFP Astroinno battery in May 2023, with expectations of commencing mass production in 2024. CALB has previously announced the OS High-Manganese Iron Lithium Battery, which is also anticipated to be produced in 2024. Companies such as BYD, EVE battery, and others have also followed suit.
In terms of material plants, the leading company in lithium iron phosphate, Hunan Yuneng, plans to produce lithium manganese iron phosphate in its newly expanded base in Yunnan province. Wanrun New Energy and Fulin P.M are actively involved in this endeavor. Ternary cathode enterprises like Easpring and Ronbay Technology are also implementing production capacity for lithium manganese iron phosphate and establishing customer collaborations.
Composite collectors are currently in the stage of order placement and program optimization. Composite fluid collectors, particularly composite aluminum foil, have already been employed in high-end models to enhance safety. However, starting from 2021 to 2022, the industry has been paying significantly more attention to composite copper foil due to its potential for cost reduction. Research and development efforts are underway, and samples are being sent out one by one.
The changes in the industry in 2023 are:
- In the realm of car companies, notable advancements were made. Aion, during the launch of the magazine battery 2.0 in March, announced the application of a composite collector for positive and negative electrodes.
- Enterprises that sent out samples early began to receive their first orders. In June 2023, Shuangxin and Wanshun secured their initial orders for composite copper foil production.
- Some companies shifted their product solutions from PET-based materials to PP-based materials, which offer improved performance.
- Leading material companies, such as PT:, joined the competition and expanded their production capacity. In the case of composite fluid collectors, it is recommended to focus on equipment with strong stability and the progress of material companies.
Regarding sodium-ion batteries, significant progress has been made in their industrialization. Sodium-ion batteries have found applications in two-wheeled electric vehicles, pure electric vehicles, and energy storage projects. With lithium carbonate prices remaining high in 2021 and 2022, sodium-ion batteries have garnered considerable attention from the industry and the market.
In 2023, as the price of lithium carbonate falls, concerns arise about the development of sodium-ion batteries. However, their development is still in the early stage of industrialization, leaving ample room for cost reduction and technological advancements. Furthermore, sodium-ion batteries offer controllable resources, which encourages active promotion within the industry.
In terms of recent developments, Hina Battery released a Na-ion battery in February 2023 and plans to equip the Sehol EX10 with it. Yadea introduced the Extreme Sodium 1 in March 2023 along with its corresponding electric vehicle.
In June 2023, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced 372 batches of new vehicles, including Chery QQ Ice Cream (A00) and JMEV Yutu (A0), both of which will utilize sodium-ion battery solutions from CATL and Farasis Energy, respectively.
In July 2023, regarding the power grid sector, Malian partnered with Li-Fun Tech to develop the Na-rich Prussian Blue and White battery, which has been officially put into use at the Management Training Center of State Grid Liaoning Power Supply Co., Ltd.
46 Series Battery:
The industry chain of Tesla is steadily advancing, while Eve battery is actively pursuing development. Following the introduction of the 4680 battery cell on Tesla's Battery Day, the company entered the trial production stage. In February 2022, Tesla announced the successful production of 1 million 4680 batteries and achieved a weekly production capacity of 868,000 by the end of December 2022, which is equivalent to approximately 4-5GWh. Moreover, Tesla completed the production of 10 million 4680 batteries in June 2023, amounting to around 0.9GWh.
Eve battery's progress is even more encouraging. As revealed in the company's 2023 convertible bond announcement, their large ternary cylindrical batteries have secured approximately 392GWh of intentional demand for the next five years. The company has also disclosed the verification progress with eight customers, four of which were accomplished in 2022.
Furthermore, CALB made a significant contribution to the industry by releasing the industry's first top-flow structure cylindrical battery in April 2023.