In a recent filing with China’s Ministry of Industry and IT, NIO stated its intention to market three current EV models with upgraded batteries made available by WeLion, a solid-state battery manufacturer. The submission is consistent with earlier claims made by the founder of NIO that consumers would start seeing solid-state-powered EVs this summer.
Solid-state batteries constitute a goal for many people despite the fact that many promised electric vehicle (EV) technologies have been realised and are still developing. Despite being closer than ever before, no one has yet succeeded in scaling up the manufacture of solid-state cells—at least not to the degree or, more critically, at a price that is comparable to the conventional lithium-ion batteries most automakers employ.
Numerous solid-state battery firms that are getting closer than ever to providing commercial-grade EV-specific cells have been tracked by EV enthusiasts like us. This includes WeLion in China and Quantumscape in the US. The latter business shipped its initial solid-state cells to EV producer NIO in November of last year from its overseas assembly line.
Even before WeLion debuted its ET7 car in early 2021 at an unveiling which additionally featured ambitions to develop a 150-kWh solid-state pack, NIO and WeLion had been partners for many years. Sales of the NIO ET7 have started in China and Europe, however there aren’t any versions yet with energy-dense packs.
We haven’t put away, and neither has NIO, according to its most recent file with the Chinese government, which indicates that the release of the latest battery packs could be closer than ever. Here is the most recent.
Solid-state battery improvements from WeLion may be revealed by an NIO filing
On May 9, China’s Ministry of Industry and IT published its most recent list of car models scheduled for sale in the nation. The list also contained hundreds of extra files for specification adjustments on currently-registered vehicles for public comment—a crucial regulatory procedure in China.
NIO requested an extension of the specifications information for three current models, especially in the battery information area, as CnEVPost notes. Despite not expressly mentioning solid-state batteries, the new filing notes that NIO models are getting battery improvements employing cells made by Huzhou WeLion Technology Co Ltd., a fully owned subsidiary of Beijing WeLion New Energy Technology, the company currently providing semi-solid-state batteries to NIO.
According to the document, the battery modifications will be installed in two NIO SUVs and one sedan. No names of recognisable vehicles were utilised. The models’ codes were mentioned instead.
Though it’s possible that the aforementioned ET7 won’t be the NIO EV to receive the new energy-dense battery, the car is still connected to the technology since the automaker unveiled ambitions to deploy a 150-kWh solid-state pack at the same event in early 2021.
The 150-kWh pack will be available to NIO owners this summer, according to the company’s founder and president Qin Lihong, who made the announcement in public this past February. Since then, NIO hasn’t made any progress public. The 150-kWh pack might cost roughly the same as an entire ET5 car, so cost parity with existing battery chemistry is still a long way off. This is a major issue.
It seems that a minimum of three NIO models fueled by solid-state cells are near and may actually hit the market this summer given since the official filings have recently been made. Although we won’t be certain until we learn it straight from NIO, this is a promising possibility.
E Auto Arena’s opinion
Even as it develops, solid-state technology continues to be the stick that is constantly held up in front of the EV business and enthusiasts alike. If China is the very first region to actually offer commercially viable solid-state cells in commuter EVs, I wouldn’t be at all shocked, but I’m interested in what kind of efficiency they will first offer.
A 150 kWh battery pack is pretty enormous, but I think NIO can deliver the same amount of weight (or probably less) for greater efficient power with more energy-dense cells. As a result, EVs will likely be lighter, less volatile, and able to go further and charge more quickly. Or maybe that’s just a happy daydream.
Even if it seems like it might occur soon, we really won’t know the extent of this battery shift or how significant it will be (or won’t be) until NIO reveals its cards. Since we already know that it won’t be inexpensive, I predict that only a small number of passenger cars will really be driven on Chinese roads.
We know we are getting ahead of ourselves, however if NIO does produce solid-state EVs in China, we might then see them moved to Europe, which would mean that both the Chinese and EU markets might witness solid-state EVs operating before the US.
Let’s see what kind of power WeLion and NIO really have to provide. We’ll monitor this carefully.