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Currently, China dominates the lithium-ion battery market with its mass production of cheap iron phosphate-based traction batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). However, with Japanese and European manufacturers investing heavily in the development of solid-state batteries, Chinese companies are joining forces to keep pace. A consortium has been formed to unite their research efforts in this field.
The consortium, known as the China All-Solid-State Collaborative Innovation Platform (CASIP), was reportedly established under the auspices of the Chinese government in late January, according to the Nikkei Asian Review. This entity composed of representatives from over 200 companies, departments, and scientific organizations aims at bolstering the national efforts of Chinese developers in creating solid-state batteries.
Consolidation Despite Competition
The consortium has managed to bring together competitors from Chinese car manufacturers and traction battery suppliers. BYD, CATL, CALB, EVE Energy, Svolt Energy Technology, and Gotion High-Tech – six of the world’s ten largest manufacturers of traction batteries – have enlisted in the organization. Some of these battery manufacturers have ongoing legal disputes against each other. However, they have set aside these differences and expressed a desire to collaboratively develop solid-state batteries.
In addition to improving energy density and reducing battery weight, solid-state batteries could significantly cut charging times and reduce battery dependence on ambient temperature. They are also considered safer in terms of fire risk.
China’s Automotive Industry Joins In
Chinese automakers, including BYD and NIO, have also joined the alliance despite their own competition. The consolidated efforts, bolstered by state resources and artificial intelligence systems, hope to facilitate Chinese manufacturers to manufacture solid-state batteries by 2030. This strategic move ensures China maintains its leading position in the market amidst successful competing initiatives.
Japanese firms like Toyota and Nissan plan to launch their first EVs powered by solid-state batteries by 2028. German giants Volkswagen and BMW, backing profile startups, are on the same track. Meanwhile, predictions from Chinese experts indicate that vehicles with traction batteries will constitute more than half of the primary car market globally by the mid-decade. China, known for its huge vehicle rollout potential, could be an excellent testing ground for new types of battery cells.
Challenging Race for Solid-State Batteries
With the right approach, local manufacturers could initiate commercial production of solid-state batteries by 2030. Notwithstanding, current research activities favor Japanese manufacturers, with Toyota possessing over 1300 patents in the field of solid-state batteries, while Chinese companies are yet to reach a benchmark of 100 related patents.
Toyota plans to start mass production of the new-generation batteries no earlier than 2030. However, this gives Chinese companies a reasonable window to keep pace in this race.