Chinese companies test lithium-manganese-iron-phosphate batteries

Chinese media Late shipment reported on July 12 that lithium-manganese-iron-phosphate batteries from Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (CATL), Sunwoda and EVE Energy Co., Ltd. passed pilot-scale tests in the first half of this year, and samples were being sent to automakers for testing.

FinDreams Battery, a subsidiary of BYD, began purchasing materials to manufacture lithium ferromanganese phosphate batteries in small batches earlier this year. The new product is currently in the internal R&D phase. BYD said no public information is available at this time.

The report also mentions that CATL plans to mass-produce lithium-manganese-iron-phosphate batteries in the second half of this year. Additionally, Gotion Hi-Tech announced a patent related to the new batteries in June this year. At present, Gotion’s new battery is still in the technical reserve stage, so there is no clear plan for mass production.

Companies are investing funds in the manufacture of lithium ferromanganese phosphate batteries because they can have a higher energy density than lithium ferrous phosphate batteries, which is the key index to determine the range of vehicles.

Lithium ferrous phosphate batteries were initially the mainstream product. BYD, which has been in the power battery business since 2006, is very skilled in manufacturing this product. Prior to 2017, BYD has always been the largest power battery manufacturer in China.

In 2017, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology adjusted its new energy subsidy policy: the higher the cruising range, the greater the subsidy. This policy increases the share of ternary lithium batteries with higher energy density and longer battery life. CATL then overtook BYD to become the first in China since 2017 thanks to its investment in this type of battery.

However, due to technology iteration, the cruising range of lithium ferrous phosphate batteries has gradually improved. With their cost advantage, they overtook ternary lithium batteries again in 2021, with a 51.2% market share in China compared to 38.3% in 2020.

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The optimization of lithium ferrous phosphate batteries always focuses on cruising range. The theoretical energy density of the new batteries can reach 230 Wh/Kg, which is 15 to 20% more than the previous versions. There is almost no material cost difference between the two batteries. In addition to new energy vehicles, this technology can also be applied to the field of energy storage.