The Chinese electric car manufacturer Nio plans to start producing its own developed battery packs in 2024. The 800-volt battery packs are to be used in models of the new brand for more affordable electric cars announced last year. In the long term, the company also plans to manufacture its own cells.
Nio CEO William Li announced both to analysts, as Reuters reports. By manufacturing its own self-developed battery packs, Li hopes to improve profitability and competitiveness against other electric car makers such as Tesla. Nio had presented its first-quarter financial results on Monday.
Li apparently did not specify where exactly Nio plans to assemble the batteries. After the start-up, which had run into financial difficulties in the meantime, was rescued by backers from Anhui province, Nio had increasingly shifted its activities to the provincial capital Hefei. The first batch of the test production of the ET5 recently came off the production line in the NeoPark built there, as Nio confirmed in its quarterly figures.
What is clear, however, is where the batteries will be used – and initially not in Nio-branded vehicles. Last summer, Nio had confirmed that it was planning a new brand for more affordable electric cars. At that time, no price range for the new brand was known. Li has now made up for this: According to the Nio boss, the models will probably cost between 200,000 and 300,000 yuan (equivalent to about 28,000 to 43,000 euros at present).
What is also new is that the battery packs will be 800 volts. In Europe, 800-volt technology is mainly used in premium vehicles such as the Porsche Taycan or Audi e-tron GT, while the cheapest 800-volt models are currently the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. In China, things are different: here BYD, for example, uses 800 volts instead of 400 volts even in its Dolphin small electric car.
The in-house assembly of the battery packs from purchased cells is supposed to be only the first step. In the long term, Li plans to produce some of the battery cells himself, similar to Tesla, and buy the rest from external partners. Details and a time frame for own battery factories are not mentioned in the Reuters article.
The background to the considerations is likely to be the pricing. Nio stated that the battery costs for the current vehicles have risen significantly. In April, Nio had concluded a new supply agreement with its currently sole battery supplier CATL – and apparently had to accept a price increase in the process. A second supplier, WeLion, is to be added soon; Nio probably wants to purchase the semi-solid-state cells for the announced 150-kWh pack from the company.
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