Nio Day was a success not only because of the presentation of the ET7, an EV that can have a range of up to 1,000 kilometers (621 miles). Its future swappable battery pack with 150 kWh and solid-state batteries also got people very interested. The first reports were that CATL would supply these batteries. However, the Chinese media is now pointing to another company: Solid State Lion. If you never heard about it, you are not alone.
The information came from Moneyball, a Twitter user that reports on interesting news from China related to electric cars in a very accurate way. Check their tweet below.
We tried to check the information with Solid State Lion directly. Sadly, the company’s website seems to be outdated and the only email address available there no longer works. All we had to deal with was the website. Luckily, it has an English version.
Solid State Lion’s pages on the web confirm that it is connected to the Institute of Physics at the Chinese Academy of Science. According to the company's founding background information, the Institute of Physics decided to grant Solid State Lion “core intellectual property rights of solid-state batteries” in 2017, one year after the company was created. Its full name is Beijing WeLion New Energy Technology. Its founder, professor Chen Liquan, investigates lithium-ion conductors since 1977.
Currently, Solid State Lion claims to have 17 patents on solid-state batteries. They would include the development of solid electrolyte materials – a crucial part of the solid-state technology – “composite lithium metal negative electrode,” “high energy density positive and negative materials” (probably meaning cathodes and anodes), and a high energy density solid-state battery sample.
When you consider that QuantumScape has more than 80 granted patents on the technology and more than 100 pending patent applications related to solid-state batteries, the 17 Solid State Lion would have are not an impressive number. The point should be which patents each of these companies have. A reliable and easy to produce solid electrolyte would be a game-changer and possibly require a few patents involved with it.
Another point that needs further information is production capacity. If Nio is to buy these batteries from Solid State Lion, manufacturing output should be enough for the carmaker’s demands. The Chinese solid-state cell company says it has “more than two production bases,” but we have no idea what that really means.
If these reports about Solid State Lion are correct, perhaps we will have another strong competitor to supply these batteries in the future apart from QuantuScape and Solid Power. Why we never heard about it could be credited to how hard it is to get in touch with Chinese companies and how little info other countries get about what happens there. If we are to take solely what the website informs us, Nio’s supplier must be another one.
We will try to check with Nio with few hopes that it will be able to tell us anything at this point. If other companies discover where Nio intends to get its solid-state batteries from, they may try to get them earlier with more attractive offers. Perhaps Solid State Lion's website is outdated and too discreet for a big company on purpose...