Nio seeks investors for battery business

According to an agency report, Chinese electric car manufacturer Nio wants to spin off its battery production division and attract external investors. The talks are said to be at an advanced stage: According to the report, the spin-off could take place this year.

Image: Nio

This was reported by the news agency Reuters, citing two people familiar with the matter. This plan is part of the company’s efforts to become profitable, reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Nio CEO William Li explained during the announcement of the latest quarterly figures that Nio would continue to carry out its own research and development in the field of batteries, but now intends to outsource the entire production process. He did not provide any further details.

According to an insider, the assets to be outsourced could include the planned battery factory for the production of large round cells with an annual capacity of 40 GWh, test equipment and intellectual property. Parts of the staff of the Nio battery division would probably also be included in the deal – although some employees are to be integrated into other departments of Nio. According to Reuters, the senior production engineers include ex-employees from Apple, Tesla and Panasonic.

Nio declined to comment on the Reuters information but did not deny it either. It is not clear from the Reuters article who the potential investors are. However, as an agreement could still be reached in 2023, there are undoubtedly already concrete negotiations underway. However, it remains unclear whether these are purely financial investors or other companies from the automotive and battery industry. Nio recently entered into partnerships with Changan and Geely for its battery replacement technology.

The main supplier for Nio’s battery cells is currently CATL, other suppliers are CALB and WeLion – the latter for the semi-solid-state cells of the 150 kWh pack. To become less dependent on these suppliers, Nio had favoured its own battery production and had already invested in the project. However, as the capital base is becoming thinner – as reported, ten per cent of staff were laid off in November for cost reasons – an investor is now being sought for the capital-intensive battery production so that Nio can become profitable more quickly.

Nio’s own batteries are said to be large-volume round cells, according to one of the sources “similar to Tesla’s 4680 cells”. However, further details are not yet known.

While Nio is apparently looking for a partner in battery production, the company is also getting rid of its partner in vehicle production: shortly after Nio received certification as an independent vehicle manufacturer from the Chinese government, Nio is taking over the two joint factories F1 and F2 in Hefei from its previous production partner JAC.


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