NIO and CATL sign ‘win-win partnership’ develop longer-life batteries for EVs, swap stations

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EV automaker NIO has announced an expanded collaboration with battery behemoth and current energy supplier CATL. Together, the two Chinese companies intend to collaborate through the research and development of long-life batteries to support future NIO EVs and battery swap stations.

CATL has held a steady reign as the global market share leader in batteries for years, showing no signs of slowing down. The Chinese manufacturer stays on top by providing cells to several significant OEMs and consistently pushing chemistry, design, and other innovations in the segment to offer safer, lighter, and more energy-dense cells.

One of CATL’s long-standing clients has been NIO, which uses the former’s cells in its passenger EV packs. CATL is also the exclusive battery provider for NIO’s battery swap network. In February 2024, NIO and CATL announced a new “all-star” alliance with BYD to commercialize solid-state battery technology.

Today, NIO and CATL have announced a new separate alliance to explore and develop batteries that will last longer than today’s technology and be used in future EVs and battery swap networks.

CATL-electric-airplane
(Source: CATL)

NIO, and CATL look to push battery tech into next echelon

NIO shared details of its new “win-win partnership” with CATL earlier today, following a signing ceremony held in China. NIO points out that current batteries in New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) are under warranty for eight years, meaning close to 20 million EV battery packs will lose coverage between 2025 and 2032.

To address this impending battery life-span issue, NIO and CATL are expanding their existing relationship to co-research and develop longer-life battery technologies. NIO already operates the industry’s first battery lifecycle health OS across its swap network, which monitors the temperature, intensity, and charge frequency of the battery packs to collect data on what conditions affect its lifespan most.

By using that big data, NIO has already been able to lengthen the lifespan of its swappable battery tech, retaining 80% of capacity after 12 years of use. Meanwhile, CATL has been developing innovative solutions while still providing batteries to companies like NIO. For example, CATL has developed self-repairing Solid Electrolyte Interphase (SEI) film and lithium supplement that can extend the service life of EV batteries.

NIO and CATL look to combine their research and data to further push these technologies forward to mass adoption, beginning with the automaker’s battery swap network. Per the release:

In this cooperation, with the long-life technology for swappable batteries as a key focus, NIO and CATL will jointly carry out discussions, make technological breakthroughs and innovation, and promote product applications. CATL will also plan and develop battery systems of longer service lives for NIO’s upcoming models. The two companies aim to establish a long-term and win-win partnership via the technological cooperation in long-life batteries, with which NIO and CATL are about to accelerate the development and adoption of such technologies, so that more EV users can enjoy battery swap services of higher quality without concerning about the high replacement costs of unwarranted batteries or reduced vehicle residual value due to battery attenuation. Moreover, batteries of longer lifespan also help with the sustainable development of the society.

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