Chinese battery cell makers are ready to grow

CATL at 2016 Battery Show North America

While the top battery cell makers are still either Japanese (Panasonic) or South Korean (LG Chem and Samsung SDI), this will probably change soon. The real big guys are starting to show up, and they are Chinese.

Chinese companies that have vast resources to invest in acquiring or developing battery technologies are more likely to dominate the global battery cell market in the coming years.


Nissan already agreed to sell the battery cell maker AESC to GSR Capital (GSR), a Chinese private investment fund. Furthermore, the Chinese battery cell maker CATL is now producing modern NCM cells that are second to none.


CATL battery cell overview


I remember to see a Chinese minister saying that Chinese automakers were way behind Japaneses and Europeans regarding ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) technology, for this reason the electric car was the opportunity they had and needed to become leaders.

For electric cars the battery technology is the most important part, it’s what differentiates the best from the rest. Knowing this, in 2016, the Chinese government passed legislation that requires EV cells to achieve at least an energy density of 200 Wh/kg, nevertheless, in 2017, second generation NCM battery cells from CATL already reached 240 Wh/kg.


CATL product range


To sum up, the Chinese companies already have the technology they need to make great electric cars and the Chinese government couldn’t care less if foreign automakers can’t or don’t want to comply with recent regulation that mandates more electric cars and less ICE cars. If European, American, Japanese and Korean automakers don’t build electric cars in China, the Chinese government will kick them out without feeling sorry, since they don’t need them anymore. Foreign automakers need China, not the other way around and that’s why even automakers that despise electric cars like Toyota will mass produce them in China by 2019.



More info:

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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4 years ago

“that’s why even automakers that despise electric cars like Toyota will mass produce them in China by 2019.” likely this will be the lifeline for Toyota in future though they will only realise this in about 10 years.

4 years ago

I’ll still wait for endurance tests to see if they can hold their promises like Japanese and Korean’s ones…

Dmitry Pelegov
4 years ago
Reply to  Rouget

BYD e6, for example, are actively used as taxies starting 2011 and still running …

4 years ago

endurance tests have already been passed

4 years ago

Hello Pedro, Thanks for all the news concerning battery

I have one question, you wrote the capacity in mass density (240 Wh/kg), what would be the same in volumique density (Wh/l) ? I would like to compare with the LG Chem NCM or SK innovation battery density given in volumique density.

Dmitry Pelegov
4 years ago

Let me be once again BYD advocate. BYD in 2016 was the second largest battery maker (about 4 GWh), leaving both LG Chem (2.3) or Samsung SDI (1.6) far behind.

Dmitry Pelegov
4 years ago

And about CATL. If ATL (can be considered as “mother” company for CATL) produces cells for Samsung Electronics and Apple (for years), why one can think that its energy density is not so good comparing with Korean companies?

4 years ago
Reply to  Dmitry Pelegov

Dear Dmitry, do you have data to supporting your conclusion?

Dmitry Pelegov
4 years ago

About clients of ATL –
About energy density. In fact, in order to increase the energy density of ternary MNC cell one has to increase the fraction of Ni or switch to so-called Li-rich MNC. Ni increasing is risky from points of safety and cycleability – but maybe they know tricks how to solve the problems. Li-rich materials are still at labs. Energy density of battery can be also increased by improved design and engineering.
As for me, price is crucial, but not energy density. And, maybe, fast charging with proper cycleability.