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Semi-solid state 150kWh battery priced as the whole EV so NIO may rent it out for long-range trips

The ET5 sedan (image: NIO)
The ET5 sedan (image: NIO)
NIO's ET5 electric sedan costs about US$38,000 when the battery is leased, and the upcoming 150 kWh battery pack with solid-state electrolyte that NIO developed together with WeLion is almost as expensive as the whole car. That is why NIO plans to lease the 620-mile battery for summer trips instead of selling cars with it.

The 150 kWh battery with solid-state electrolyte that NIO will be equipping its electric sedans with this year costs almost as much as the whole car, divulged the company's co-founder at an owners' meeting. Still, the battery that NIO co-developed with WeLion when the world's largest EV battery maker CATL balked at the idea, allows for a 620-mile range on a charge, and NIO intends to lease it for things like long summer trips rather than sell vehicles with it directly, at least for the initial batches. According to the meeting's minutes:

...150 kWh battery can be used in summer vacation, open for weekly rent, and buyouts will be open later depending on the situation. The cost of 150 kWh [battery] is very high, almost equivalent to an ET5.

Those same batches were reportedly surprisingly affordable to make when WeLion completed the trial production back in the summer and said that the batteries with solid electrolyte didn't cost that much more to assemble than its regular ternary lithium cells with liquid electrolyte. NIO was then supposed to launch the long-range battery versions of its electric sedans in Q4, but postponed the release for this year, and now we learn the possible reason for this delay.

It's not clear what happened between the "affordable" trial runs and the mass production, but given the battery's component structure - solid-state electrolyte, silicon composite anode, and a high-nickel cathode - it could be the price of any of those materials going ballistic. Mass production challenges, such as doing a novel and expensive technology in small batches, are also a possible contributor.

The ET5 sedan that NIO's co-founder gave as a ballpark for the 150 kWh unit's final price, costs about US$38,000 with leased battery. If that's indeed the ballpark, leasing the long-range pack for owners to only use when they really need it, like going on summer holidays, would be the more affordable option.

CATL's initial reluctance to develop the 150 kWh pack with solid electrolyte for NIO may have been vindicated, after all. Its executives cited exactly cell costs and resource allocation as reasons why they passed. CATL wanted to perfect its existing technologies and drive down the prices of mass-produced batteries, instead of developing costly new chemistries as it said the main issue is satisfying all the unprecedented EV battery demand.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 02 > Semi-solid state 150kWh battery priced as the whole EV so NIO may rent it out for long-range trips
Daniel Zlatev, 2023-02-12 (Update: 2023-02-12)