China's Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL), a Tesla supplier, is developing a new type of electric vehicle (EV) battery that contains no nickel or cobalt, a company executive said on Saturday. Nickel and cobalt are key ingredients in the batteries that power EVs. Battery makers from Japan's Panasonic Corp to South Korea's LG Chem are lowering the use of expensive cobalt in their nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) batteries or nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) batteries.
Tesla's boss, Elon Musk, last month urged miners to produce more nickel, warning the current cost of batteries remained a big hurdle to the company's growth.
Ningde-based CATL makes NCM batteries and supplies lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries to Tesla. It has partnerships with Japan's Toyota Motor and Honda Motor and supplies Germany's Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG.
The new battery type will be different from existing NCA, NCM and LFP batteries and will have no expensive metals like nickel or cobalt, Meng Xiangfeng, a senior executive at CATL, told an industry conference held by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers in Shanghai. Meng did not give details of the makeup or the cost of the planned battery type. CATL is also developing a separate technology to integrate battery cells directly into an EV's frame to extend its driving range.