On July 22, at the World EV & ES Battery Conference, CATL, which ranks first among the top of Top 10 power battery companies in the world, said that the M3P battery it developed has been mass-produced and will be launched and applied to new electric vehicles as soon as next year. The energy density of this battery is higher than that of lithium iron phosphate, but the cost is lower than that of ternary lithium, which helps to reduce the price of EVs. Also at this conference, the chairman of CATL said that in the first half of 2022, the global market share of CATL reached 34%, with power battery shipments exceeding 400GW.
1.M3P battery is a type of battery product developed based on a new material system
It is understood that CATL announced in February this year that the company plans to launch a new product M3P battery, which is a battery product developed based on a new material system, which is different from lithium iron phosphate. Lithium iron phosphate is currently the most widely used and relatively low-cost power battery. BYD's blade battery is based on this system. The biggest advantage of lithium iron phosphate batteries is that they are cheap, safe and have a long service life.
However, there are also many shortcomings, such as low energy density and poor fast charging performance. Therefore, most of these batteries appear in entry-level, mid- and low-end models within 200,000 RMB. At this stage, the performance of lithium iron phosphate has reached the limit, and the energy density has reached the theoretical highest level. Even if the compaction density continues, it is difficult to make a breakthrough. In the face of ternary lithium batteries with booming energy density, the energy density of lithium iron phosphate may have reached the upper limit.
According to relevant professionals, the CATL’s M3P should be improved on this basis, and it belongs to an improved variety of lithium iron phosphate. Other chemical elements are added to the cathode of traditional lithium iron phosphate batteries to increase the original capacity and performance limits of the battery. Its energy density is higher than that of lithium iron phosphate and is expected to reach more than 200Wh/kg. Although it will be more expensive than the original, the cost is still better than the ternary lithium battery. According to the data, CATL’s M3P is not lithium manganese iron phosphate, but also contains other metal elements, which are called ternary of phosphate system, and the cost is lower than that of ternary lithium.
2.CATL has launched multinomial material system innovations
It is worth mentioning that on June 23, 2022, CATL released the CTP3.0 Qilin battery, which adopts innovative technology in terms of structure, strengthens heat dissipation, supports 5-minute fast hot start, and 10-minute fast charge. Due to the structural change, under the same chemical system and the same battery pack size, the power of the Qilin battery pack is 13% higher than that of the 4680 system, and the energy density can reach 255Wh/kg, which can achieve 1,000 kilometers of battery life.
In addition, CATL is promoting the industrialization of sodium batteries, M3P and CTC. The battery technologies that CATL has launched and reserved also include Qilin batteries, 4C fast charge NCM, lithium-sodium metal batteries, rare metal-free batteries, lithium-air batteries, solid-state batteries, cobalt-free batteries and condensed state batteries. Previously, CATL stated that the Qilin battery has achieved comprehensive improvements in battery life, fast charging, safety, life, efficiency and low temperature performance, and is planned to be mass-produced in 2023.
3.Power battery technology innovation will promote the performance upgrade of EVs
For the moment, the sales of new energy vehicles are in a period of rapid growth. According to data, in June 2022, the wholesale sales of new energy passenger vehicles in China reached 571,000 units, a year-on-year increase of 141.4% and a month-on-month increase of 35.3%; the retail sales of new energy passenger vehicles reached 532,000 units, a year-on-year increase of 130.8% and a month-on-month increase of 47.6%. As a result, the installed capacity of power batteries has rapidly increased. The data shows that from January to May 2022, China has occupied 54.2% of the global market share with a loading volume of 82.43GWh, ranking first in the world again.
China's installed capacity of power batteries has ranked first in the world for five consecutive years, and technological innovation has always been the most important driving factor. Power battery technology innovation can be roughly divided into two directions: one is material innovation, such as sodium-ion batteries and potassium-ion batteries; the second is process innovation, such as improving energy density and safety by changing the structure of power batteries.
At present, the power battery industry is in a period of technological blowout. Whether it is material innovation or process innovation, the more the better. With the rapid development, maturity and large-scale application of power battery technology, the competitive landscape of the global power battery industry may face a new round of restructuring. Currently, it has become a general consensus of power battery companies to reduce costs through technological innovation and then seize market share. After entering 2022, the technological competition around power batteries has intensified.
In 2022, the entire battery industry shows a blowout phenomenon. Tesla 4680 battery has began to be delivered, CATL released Qilin battery, and NIO 150kWh solid-state battery will be delivered before the end of the year. The reason why power battery companies attach great importance to technological innovation is that on the one hand, the new energy vehicle market is constantly expanding, and the innovation of power battery technology is conducive to bringing more incremental markets.
On the other hand, the first power battery company to create revolutionary technology will take the lead in the new energy development tide, and even have the right to speak in the industry. In the next year or two, there will inevitably be more and more new types of batteries available, the performance of electric vehicles will be rapidly improved, and the price is expected to gradually decrease. The future development of electric vehicles is worth looking forward to.