NIO launching its 150 kWh semi solid-state battery EVs with 600-mile range
NIO has filed for regulatory approval of three electric vehicle that will use batteries by none other than its semi solid-state battery supplier WeLion. The vehicles are two sedans and one SUV, jibing with the ET5 and ET7, as well as the EC7 performance SUV that officially have versions with 150 kWh semi-solid state battery packs that would give them the promised 600+ miles range on the CLTC cycle.
While the ET5 and ET7 have been on sale for a while, and even exported to Europe, the EC7 should be released in June, so regulatory filing for its 150 kWh battery version at this point make sense.
NIO reportedly approached its exclusive battery supplier CATL first, and asked if it can develop the 150 kWh semi-solid state battery pack that the ET5 and ET7 sedans will use to hit their promised 600+ mile range. CATL apparently wasn't very excited about that prospect since such a battery has never been done before on a mass scale, and it felt it will have to invest too much in R&D as well as new production tools and chemistries for the project to be as commercially viable as its other contracts.
NIO was then forced to go to a smaller, startup competitor called WeLion New Energy Technology which co-developed its first "semi-solid state" 150 kWh battery pack. NIO needed the new chemistry in order to fulfil the promised 1000km (~626 mile) all-weather range on a charge with its new models. The pack uses a hybrid liquid solid electrolyte, and the first batches that WeLion produced last fall proved commercially viable.
That doesn't mean cheap, though, as NIO originally planned to introduce the 150 kWh battery versions of its electric sedans in Q4, while two quarters later it's on record saying that the packs are rather expensive. Apparently, the semi-solid state battery that WeLion is providing costs as much as the smaller ET5 sedan itself, so NIO said it may merely rent it to its customers for longer trips this summer at its network of battery swap stations.
The latest regulatory filing for the 150 kWh battery versions of three of its vehicles could very well be for these swaps now that summer is approaching. Alternatively, NIO may have simply decided that mass production will lower the price of the battery enough to make direct sales of EVs with it viable from a business standpoint.