China’s CATL to start producing next-gen low-cobalt batteries in 2019

BEIJING: China’s largest lithium battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) plans to begin producing in 2019 next-generation nickel-rich batteries, which are cheaper to make and have longer life-spans, according to an internal company presentation and a company source.
Its plans for the NCM 811 battery, which have not been officially announced, come as global battery makers have been searching for ways to reduce the proportion of cobalt in their batteries to cut costs.
The price of cobalt, which stabilises and extends the life of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, rose by 130 per cent over 2017 and peaked at a record high of $95,250 a tonne in March this year on booming battery demand.
It has come off those levels as cobalt supply — most of which is from the Democratic Republic of Congo — has increased, but battery makers are still looking for ways to reduce its use.
South Korea’s LG Chem and SK Innovation have said they are working on producing the same type of battery. A source at CATL, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media, confirmed the authenticity of a copy of the presentation reviewed by Reuters. The presentation was given by CATL’s chief technology officer, Robert Galyen, and showed its roadmaps for its cell production and module programmes.
— Reuters