Cobalt-free LFP battery cells to reach 210 Wh/kg this year

Winding (jelly roll) and stacking technologies

 

Guoxuan is an important battery cell maker in China specialized in cobalt-free LFP (LiFePO4) battery cells that also makes long-lasting LTO cells. It produces cells in both cylindrical and prismatic forms.

This company currently supplies cobalt-free LFP battery cells to make the extremely affordable electric car Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV.

 

Guoxuan prismatic battery cells

Guoxuan prismatic battery cells

 

Guoxuan cylindrical battery cells

Guoxuan cylindrical battery cells

 

Currently its most energy dense commercial LFP battery cells are in the cylindrical form and already surpass 187 Wh/kg, but Guoxuan expects to reach 210 Wh/kg during this year.

 

 

Gravimetric energy density

  • Cell: 210 Wh/kg
  • Module: 200 Wh/kg
  • Pack: 180 Wh/kg

 

The GCTPR (gravimetric cell-to-pack ratio) is 86 percent, which is basically what BYD achieves with its CTP Blade battery pack made with LFP prismatic cells. However, BYD’s cells have lower energy density, resulting in a less energy dense battery pack.

 

A year ago this kind of energy density (above 200 Wh/kg) was only expected to be achieved in LFP cells with the introduction of the high-voltage version LFMP. In comparison with LFP cells, LFMP cells operate at roughly 17 percent higher voltage that corresponds to an increase of energy density of the same amount.

 

Reaching 180 Wh/kg at the battery pack level with cobalt-free cells is an extremely important step for the massification of electric cars. Currently the electric cars we have available in Europe and North America with more expensive NCM and NCA batteries at best reach 168 Wh/kg.

With cobalt-free batteries electric cars can finally compete with ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars on volume production and price.

Some ICE car models have an annual production above one million units and only with a cobalt-free battery an electric car can eventually reach this level.

By the way, for this year the planned annual production of the affordable Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV is 200.000 units and next year is expected to reach half-million units. It’s not one million yet, but it’s getting there…

 

Even before the Tesla Battery Day, 2020 is a year already marked with exceptional battery technology breakthroughs. Don’t you agree?

 

 

More info:

https://www.shanghai-electric.com/group_en/c/2019-08-12/556943.shtml

https://www.grepow.com/blog/winding-vs-stacking-which-is-better-for-lithium-battery/

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.

42 Responses

  1. Stop annoying automatic scroll says:

    This site have a very annoying automatic scroll. Please stop the annoying automatic scroll of the page. It is really annoying, we cannot read as we want because this ridicule feature.

  2. sola says:

    Great advancement.

    Due to the battery longevity, I would actually prefer a Chinese made Model3 with the CATL LFP as opposed to the US version with Panasonic NCA.

    Do you think Pana NCA also has 2-3K cycles or more like 1K as normal NCA cells?

    • Pedro Lima says:

      Not sure about that one.

      But I think that the cycle life of current cell shouldn’t be much different from the old NCR18650B cell.

      https://pushevs.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2020/09/Panasonic-NCR18650B-battery-cell-specs.jpg

      However, Tesla is extremely good at making battery packs. Those cells are well protected by an advanced TMS that keeps them at the right temperature all the time, and by a BMS that by default keeps them away from high SOC (State of Charge) levels.

      I think that most Tesla owners limit charging to a SOC of 80 percent or less and this helps a lot.

      https://pushevs.com/2018/04/27/battery-charging-full-versus-partial/

      With the right TMS and BMS, instead of 500 cycles we can get up to 6.000 cycles from the same cells.

      • antrik says:

        Chemistries evolved *a lot* since then — both for NCA cells in general, and especially for the Tesla-specific ones. Assuming the same cycle life makes no sense.

    • Pajda says:

      Hi sola,

      for comparison of cycle/calendar life it is crucial to specify the test conditions, where for modern cells it is a depth of discharge (DoD) and the test load (c-rate) otherwise it is how to compare pears and apples. Almost all modern cells will do many thousands of cycles at 50% DoD with 0.5C charge / 1C discharge rate. So if you design your battery pack to have 50% DoD or even lower value as an average daily use (the same with low average C-rate) you can use in your battery cells with relatively poor cycle life as Tesla does.

  3. yogurt says:

    Guoxuan is the company VW now owns 20% of so perhaps they will use these in the ID1 or other vehicles…

    • Pedro Lima says:

      That would be great ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Leo B says:

      “If Guoxuan High-Tech’s battery cannot be installed in Volkswagen’s car, it will be the failure of Guoxuan High-Tech, but also the failure of Volkswagen.”

      Quote from the interview with a Guoxuan vice-president (from moneyball-tweet in the article).
      As I understand it with the help of google translate, Guoxuan has developped a sort of CTP alternative of their own, which fully automatically produces modules. These modules should then be made compatible with MEB. I think possible Guoxuan supply will be for Chinese VW mainly.

      Entire interview is here:
      https://www.d1ev.com/news/qiye/127412

    • Lex says:

      It it good news indeed. As much for Volkswagen as for Guoxuan’s international ambitions. Rumours in January2020 had it at 20%, the announcement from June2020 sets VW’s stake in Guoxuan at 26%.

  4. Maximilian Holland says:

    This is great news. I noticed the Moneyball tweet… thank you for diving in with much more detail and context Pedro. Great to see LFP still steadily evolving.

    I wasn’t paying attention that the hot Wuling Mini is using Guoxuan, but makes perfect sense.

    I guess you saw that Elon definitively confirmed that in his perspective, LFP is cheaper than NCx (presumably including their new roadrunners), and he agreed it will help scale the growth of EVs.

    Also the news that BYD is scaling up their Blade factory? https://twitter.com/DKurac/status/1306827422080200705

    • Pedro Lima says:

      Thanks Max.

      That’s great news, 20 GWh is enough for 250.000 battery packs with 80 kWh each or 400.000 with 50 kWh. Hope to see those batteries in smaller and more affordable electric cars than the BYD Han EV.

      • yogurt says:

        ‘BYD’s refreshed Tang EV is likely to carry the โ€œblade batteryโ€’

        ‘Aside from the new Tang EV, BYD is ready to introduce the battery blade into the yet-to-be-launched new Qin EV, Qin Pro EV and Song Plus EV, according to MIIT’s catalogues.’

        http://autonews.gasgoo.com/m/70017222.html

        The mere fact that they are cheaper should mean that BYD will use it in all of their BEVs…
        The fact that they are safer, longer lasting and marketed as superior batteries means they should put them in their most expensive cars first…

        Have to beleive that BYD will start providing them to third parties in the near future…

        • Pedro Lima says:

          Thanks for the heads up.

          I already knew that the Tang EV will get it, but didn’t know about the others.

          If BYD e1 and e2 also get them, they will become great electric cars to export to Europe.

    • yogurt says:

      Also from Moneyball…

      https://twitter.com/DKurac/status/1297025028173606912

      #BYD Changsha blade battery plant topped out, #China media reports. Equipment installation on 15 Oct, trial run prior 15 Dec. The 4 production lines to be running Apr 2021. BYD to add blade battery lines in Shenzhen, Xi’an, Qinghai, Changsha, Guiyang as it plans 100 GWh by 2022.’

  5. Famlin says:

    In 3 months between Jun-Aug, MiniEV has sold < 18.000, so selling 200.000 this year is impossible.ย 
    Are you saying LFP hits 200 Wh/kg while "NCM and NCA batteries at best reach 168 Wh/kg."
    Then how can Model S with NCM/NCA go 640 km.

    Yes, I agree that "2020 is a year already marked with exceptional battery technology breakthroughs."

    • Pedro Lima says:

      Hi Famlin.

      I mentioned production, not sales.

      The gravimetric energy density of the battery pack is 180 Wh/kg, 200 Wh/kg is for the modules.

      However, in electric cars with limited space for batteries, volumetric energy density is even more important than gravimetric and we don’t have this figure yet to compare.

    • zvi rechnitz says:

      At August they sold 15000 making that 180000 yearly before ramping up to 18000 monthly

      • Famlin says:

        Wuling sold only 9.150 MiniEVs in Aug and 17.546 between June and August. That 15.000 is probably cumulative sales. They cannot produce 200.000 units this year and sell only around 100.000.
        Anyway, lets wait and see. But Wuling is a game changer. It is currently in #6 in sales in China and will soon move into #5 or #4 in september sales.
        http://ev-sales.blogspot.com/

  6. Pajda says:

    Hi Pedro,

    I personally do not see a possibility of significant market share of LFP technology in EU or US until there will be available a significant local production. It i only my guess but I think that actual production/labor cost in Poland(LG Chem) or Hungary(Samsung-SDI) are not significantly higher than in China. It is based on assumption that advanced battery production is a hi-tech industry with the need of total automation for achieving a high yield. The significantly lower energy density of LFP compared to ternary NCx is still a major issue for logistic/transportation and it eliminates the major advantage of LFP cheaper materials. From my knowledge the cell manufacturing proces itself is on par or even LFP manufacturing is slightly expensive than NCx.

    Another thing which talks against LFP in EU (and particularly in Czech Republic) is a local obsession with the weight of BEVs. Today it is far better, but in recent history many “lead academic scientist or automotive engineers” says that vehicles in C segment with a curb weight of 1,8-2t are “total nonsense” no matter of their real world performance.

    • Pedro Lima says:

      Hi Padja.

      I agree, local production is extremely important.

      CATL’s battery cell plant in Germany starts production next year and I really expect them to produce both NCM and cobalt-free LFP cells.

      SVOLT also plans to have a battery plant in Europe but to produce NCMA and cobalt-free LNMO cells.

      It would be great if the Korean makers already present in Europe invested in cobalt-free battery production.
      LG Chem is the leader right now, so they are happy with how things are going, but Samsung SDI and SK Innovation should unveil a cobalt-free battery as soon as possible to have an advantage over LG.

      • Leo B says:

        Also regarding your reaction to Famlin below, don’t you think there’s a bit of chicken-and-egg problem in Europe? Many legacy manufacturers have secured some sort of battery supply for the coming years, but since they were done some time ago, they’ll probably be for NCM pouch mostly. Can these be easily switched to LFP prismatic?

        Then there’s car or platform design. Some companies, most notably BMW, have stated to be developping mixed platforms, that also allow combustion engines. These platforms will use packs with modules no doubt. Also how flexible are current platforms (either finished like MEB or still under construction), how easily can they be modified for CTP?
        The Chinese have shown to be incredibly flexible: BAIC and CATL showed the first CTP car in november(?) last year and already CTP cars are popping up all over the place.

        So maybe the EU manufacturers would like to build CTP LFP cars, but existing contracts and design decisions may prevent that from happening in the short term.

  7. Famlin says:

    @Pedro

    Do you see the prismatic and cylindrical cells duking it out for supremacy forever.
    Where does the pouch cells stands in this fight, can they sustain and make it a 3 way fight or they will slowly go down leaving it to 2 way fight.
    All videos on battery day shows the prospective bigger battery cell being very superior.

    • Pedro Lima says:

      Considering that the future seems to be module-less I think that prismatic cells will become dominant.

      You can assemble CTP packs with cylindrical and pouch cells, but the structure won’t be as strong as the BYD Blade Battery made with prismatic.

      https://pushevs.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2020/04/BYD-Blade-battery-with-CTP-technology.jpg

      • Barry says:

        Maybe. But strength can be augmented in many ways with creative designs. I believe for now, cylindrical cells are the best due to excellent thermal properties and legacy manufacturing equipment, both of which keep pack installed cost per cell low.

      • antrik says:

        I’m pretty sure cylindrical cells arranged in a hex pattern can actually provide better structural stability than the large prismatic cells…

        As for pouch cells, a structural pack with similar properties as one using prismatic can cells should be possible, if the structural/cooling elements needed around pouch cells can be integrated into the pack structure… The problem I see that such a thing would likely be a *lot* harder to assemble — quite possibly prohibitively hard…

  8. antrik says:

    These tables contain multiple obvious errors — so I’d take all the numbers with a grain of salt.

    Apart from that, it’s interesting to note that the claimed cycle life of the high-density EV variants is actually not that great… Which seems to confirm that the touted longevity of LFP cells over nickel-based ones is mostly a myth at this point.

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