Based on information recently shared by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology pertaining to upcoming models sold in China, NIO will be upgrading the batteries in some of its EVs soon. Interestingly, the battery cells specified will come from a semi-solid-state battery supplier.
There has been news about solid-state battery breakthroughs for years, and the battery technology has actually been proven to work as advertised. However, according to most experts in the field, it’s not yet ready for electric cars. This could change at any point in time, but while we’ve been waiting for that to happen, numerous companies have had to delay their promises.
In this case, it’s not as though NIO came forward and made a big announcement to the world that it will officially be the first EV maker to equip production passengers cars with solid-state batteries. Rather, the news came much more quietly.
Just last week, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released an updated list of models that will be sold in China going forward. Electrek says the ministry provides the information on a regular basis to point out specification changes as part of China’s regulatory process.
The interesting part is that NIO filed to expand battery specifications for three models on the list. While the filing doesn’t specifically call out solid-state battery cells by name, it does confirm that the battery upgrades will come from Huzhou WeLion Technology Co Ltd., which is a subsidiary of NIO’s semi-solid-state battery supplier WeLion New Energy Technology.
The information also doesn’t specify which vehicles will get the new battery technology. However, it does mention that two NIO SUVs and one NIO sedan are getting battery upgrades.
It’s important to note that back at the beginning of 2021, NIO said it had plans to fit the ET7 sedan with a 150 kWh solid-state battery pack. The Chinese automaker hasn’t yet followed through with those plans or shared many details related to their progress. However, in February 2023, NIO founder and president Qin Lihong said customers would be able to get the 150 kWh pack this coming summer.
There are still plenty of questions here, and cost will likely be a huge deterrent. If NIO does offer the pack as an option, it will not be cheap. We will have to wait and see how this all pans out, but it may be safe to say that NIO is well on its way to being one of the first EV makers to offer solid-state tech, and it appears it may do so with the help of WeLion.