SVOLT Energy Technology unveiled at the 2021 Chengdu Motor Show its first production cobalt-free NMx battery pack, which will be used in the upcoming Great Wall's ORA Cherry Cat, also displayed at the show.

Let's recall that NMx is a new lithium-ion battery chemistry, with SVOLT's in-house developed NMx cathode material (75% nickel and 25% manganese). Through the cobalt elimination and reduction of the nickel content, it's expected to be 5% less expensive than comparable NCM chemistry.

SVOLT currently offers two prismatic NMx cell types: 115 Ah in a format compatible with Volkswagen's Modular Electric Drive Toolkit (MEB) platform and a long 226 Ah format.

SVOLT lithium-ion battery cell (NMx)
SVOLT lithium-ion battery cell (NMx), 226 Ah

The Great Wall's ORA Cherry Cat consists of the 115 Ah version. The pack is 82.5 kWh and has an energy density of 170 Wh/kg (compared to 245 wh/kg on the cell level), which is expected to translate into a range of more than 600 km (373 miles) "under normal temperature condition."

The battery delivers also enough power to support 0-100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration in under 5 seconds.

The company notes that the NMx battery cells and pack exceeds all requirements:

"SVOLT cobalt-free Pack assembled in vehicles uses standard platform MEB modules, aerospace-grade thermal insulation materials, and has a lightweight design. The Pack has passed comprehensive performance tests and safety tests, and test data such as thermal runaway far exceeds national standard requirements."

"It also has... IP67 waterproof rating, as well as high energy retention, and fast heating speed in low temperature conditions."

According to SVOLT, the packs were tested already over 800,000 km (500,000 miles) cumulatively in ORA EV prototypes.

"Since 2020, cobalt-free Pack have been road tested in the ORA prototype. It has passed many vehicle performance tests such as strengthening road endurance test, vehicle charging and discharging performance, rapid acceleration, performance degradation, and full insulation inspection of the vehicle battery Pack. The cumulative test mileage has reached 800,000 kilometers, and the test data is excellent."

We are not surprised that the first NMx battery will be used in Great Wall's electric car, since SVOLT is the former Battery Business Unit of Great Wall Motor Co.

The company is just at the beginning, but it already attracted many customers, including the Stellantis group most recently. The list includes Geely Automobile, Dongfeng Motor, Stellantis, SF Motors, ENOVATE, Leap Motor and Hozon Auto.

Series production of the NMx cells started in July, in Jintan, China, which is the first out of many manufacturing sites announced by SVOLT.

The company has set a very ambitious target of 200 GWh of annual manufacturing capacity by 2025.

Gigafactory projects underway:

  • Jintan, Changzhou, China - expansion from 12 GWh to 18 GWh
  • Hunan and Hubei province, China - 40 GWh
  • Suining, Sichuan province, China - 20 GWh (10 GWh in the first phase)
  • Huzhou in the Zhejiang province, China - 20 GWh (10 GWh in the first phase)
  • Lishui, China - 14.6 GWh (6.6 GWh in the first phase)
    pouch-format for hybrids
  • Saarlouis, Germany - 24 GWh (details)
  • the remaining capacity is currently still in evaluation

To build the battery plants, SVOLT actively seeks financing, and already closed two financing rounds:

  • A-financing: 3.5 billion CNY (approximately €450 million) in February 2021
  • B-financing: 10.28 billion CNY (approximately €1.33 billion) in early August 2021

SVOLT NMx lithium-ion chemistry

  • NMx cathode material (75% nickel and 25% manganese)
  • similar energy density to NCM (about 5% lower, according to SVOLT)
  • 5% less expensive than NCM
  • improved cycle aging and calendar aging over NCM (over 2,500 unspecified cycles)

SVOLT NMx 115 Ah

  • capacity of 115 Ah
  • energy of 430 Wh (396 Wh usable)
  • nominal voltage of 3.74 V
  • energy density of 245 Wh/kg
  • format: prismatic (33.4 x 220 x 102.5 mm), Volkswagen MEB platform
  • weight 1.76 kg
  • more than 2,500 charging cycles (unspecified)

SVOLT NMx 226 Ah

The second type will be available in Q4 2021 and is in SVOLT's own cell format L6:

  • capacity of 226 Ah
  • energy density of 240 Wh/kg
  • L6 format (21.5 x 574 x 118 mm)
  • "L-cells are long battery cells in a thin prismatic design with laterally positioned electrodes and degassing valves"
  • more than 2,500 charging cycles (unspecified)
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