SK Innovation postpones the release of EV NCM 811 battery cells

SK Innovation's electric vehicle battery cell plant in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province

Last year, the Korean battery cell maker SK Innovation announced that it would introduce NCM 811 battery cells for electric cars during this year. A few days later LG Chem announced that it would introduce the same technology even earlier than its competitor.

However, now it looks that both battery cell makers were advertising something they probably didn’t intend to accomplish, just to boost the stock market.

LG Chem recently confirmed that this year the company will only produce NCM 811 battery cells in cylindrical format to be used in electric buses. Similarly, now SK Innovation also confirms that it will postpone the release of NCM 811 battery cells for electric cars.

It seems that both cell makers aren’t confident enough in this new battery technology yet and are testing it at small scale – with electric buses and ESS (Energy Storage Systems).

Anyway, this means that the Kia Niro EV won’t have NCM 811 battery cells. It seems that SK Innovation NCM 811 battery cells for EVs will be first introduced in the electric Mercedes SUV next year.


Thanks Chris. for the heads up.



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Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. Iโ€™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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3 years ago

Thanks for the article, I think that Kia don’t want to introduce a new technology for the battery of the Niro as this battery is warranty for the lifetime of the vehicle.

3 years ago

This delay is totally consistent with what umicore (a global producer of cathode material) has been saying all along : NCM811 is due in 2020 in cars, not earlier…

3 years ago

So delayed 2019 Leaf? Or it will use same battery as the Kona with cylindrical NCM622 cells?

3 years ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Ok thanks.

3 years ago

I doubt they’d advertise something they didn’t intend to accomplish.

One possible explanation would be that they encountered problems with the new technology. That seems unlikely though, if LG is going forward with the cylindrical cells…

So the more likely explanation is that they simply didn’t find customers.

3 years ago

I have no doubt that SK achieve to produce NCM811 however Kia doesn’t want to take the risk to introduce new cell technology to save ~30/35kg on the battery pack weight and to offer a battery with a lifetime warranty.
Indeed the NCM622 cell from SK has already a good energy density.

3 years ago
Reply to  Chris.

Good point. The 811s might need more testing. The 622 batteries are already good enough. but maybe not cheap enough for mass EV adoption. Itโ€™s also possible the 811 batteries are not as cheap as they expected them to be, so maybe theyโ€™re trying to figure out how to get the price down.

3 years ago
Reply to  Marcel

My thought is that major issue with NMC811 and “low rich C” NCA is its poor cycle life at high DoD (On the other side their energy density is excellent). This is the expected drawback of using less expensive materials. But this deficiency is easy to solve by installing larger capacity batteries which will be cycled at significantly lower DoD in average (Tesla approach with “low rich C” NCA used in 21700 cells in TM3). Unfortunatelly other EV manufacturers are not ready to install such batteries in todays vehicles due to their marketing.

So we must wait another few years for facelift of KONA or NIRO with +80kWh NMC811 battery not due to the current technology but marketing.

3 years ago

I think that you can use 811 cells but you need a better battery management system to avoid battery degradation.
So there is a tradeoff : more complex, costly and larger weight BMS vs a 622 battery that weighs a bit more but has a simpler BMS, has a bit more cobalt that makes it more costly etc…
Also, the production process of 811 cathode material is longer and costlier than the production of 622.
So it could well be that they achieved better results with lower cost with 622 as compared to 811…

Illia Drobchak
3 years ago

Hi! I accidentally found something interesting. There is a mention from Kia that in July Nissan started delivering its EVs in Korea.

Do you know any more details?