Recently, a rumour about Teslas cobalt free battery has polarized the capital market of lithium battery. There are many ups and downs in lithium iron phosphate related industries, while shares in cobalt industry have declined all the way. (for details, please see: Teslas cobalt free battery launched the iron lithium phosphate revival war, and the capital market exploded.)
For a while, the capital market of lithium battery cathode materials in the hot and cold days tends to be calm, but the concept stocks of super capacitors are restless. As of February 26, Tongfeng Electronics (600237) has been up and down for three consecutive days, and other domestic super capacitor related stock industries have also increased to varying degrees.
Photo source: Internet
The trend of Teslas battery is a turbulent wave when it falls into the capital market. However, the blindness and confusion of capital make the technical trend of Teslas battery increasingly confusing: will lithium iron phosphate return to the mainstream? What kind of technology is cobalt free battery? What is super capacitor battery?
On February 25, Lu Hao, a new energy analyst, told time finance and economics, at present, there is no so-called cobalt free battery in China, so its good to do a good job in 811 and NCA first; lithium iron phosphate has application space, but the battery pulls the whole body, and there is no possibility of replacement in the short term; pure super capacitor energy density is too low, which is not suitable for the main energy supply of electric vehicles, but with lithium Electric combination or complementary advantages and disadvantages.
Obviously, long period is a major feature of technological evolution. Either lithium iron phosphate or cobalt free batteries, or so-called self-developed super capacitor batteries, will not appear in Tesla products in the short term. Of course, in the long run, battery technology has unlimited possibilities, everything is possible.
Lithium iron phosphate may not be reviving that fast
In the mists of Tesla battery technology orientation, the most concerned in the industry is undoubtedly the revival of lithium iron phosphate. Everyone knows that with the development of technology, lithium iron phosphate will have a second development opportunity, but they didnt expect it to be so fast, a battery research and development engineer told time finance
In 2019, Ningde era released a new modular free battery pack with modular free CTP technology. Compared with the traditional battery pack in the current market, the volume utilization rate of CTP battery pack is increased by 15% - 20%, the production efficiency is increased by 50%, and the energy density of battery pack can reach more than 200wh / kg.
In January 2020, BYD launched the blade battery, whose blade battery is the application of module free CTP technology.
Although the mass energy density of lithium iron phosphate is still not comparable to 811 ternary lithium battery, the volume of lithium iron phosphate battery is greatly reduced after the use of modular free CTP technology. This means that on the cars limited chassis, it can hold more batteries, thus improving the range.
Photo source: BYD official wechat
However, the low cost, safety and long life of lithium iron phosphate are not available in the current ternary system. According to Guojun new energy data, the cost of domestic lithium iron phosphate battery is 0.65 yuan / wh, far lower than 0.85 yuan / wh of ternary lithium battery.
From this point of view, as Teslas latest supplier, Ningde eras CTP battery to a certain extent balances Teslas demand for cost and performance.
On February 25, Lu Hao, a new energy analyst, told time finance and economics, Ningde times CTP battery may be used for the following minimum configuration of domestic models 3 and y, reducing the range of its price and impacting the domestic luxury car market.
But at the same time, Lu Hao also pointed out that if the EV model changes to lithium iron phosphate, Tesla will have to change the BMS strategy and the design of the pack, including the possible change of the site. In addition, the vehicle test and road test, etc., the workload is unimaginable, and the individual estimates that it will not be loaded and sold in a short time, but the gradual development is normal.
This means that even if the lithium iron phosphate is taken into account by the automobile enterprises again, there is still a long way to go for its real industrial benefits.
What is a cobalt free battery?
At the moment when lithium iron phosphate is the most popular, there is also a viewpoint in the industry: lithium iron phosphate does not contain cobalt, but lithium iron phosphate does not belong to cobalt free batteries, only the three elements of cobalt removal can be qualified to be cobalt or cobalt free.
In fact, cobalt free batteries have never been officially defined. Recently, Tesla said on an official tiktok: cobalt free batteries are not necessarily lithium iron phosphate.
As we all know, the ternary technology has been improving in the direction of cobalt reduction, and cobalt free is the ultimate goal. And the farthest way to go in reducing cobalt is a British listed company, Johnson Matthey.
In 2017, the general three-way battery stayed at 523 stage (nickel cobalt manganese ratio 5:2:3), 622 is few, 811 is only in the research and development, while Johnson Matthey reinforced lithium nickel oxide positive material (erlno) has entered the pilot stage, and the specific energy is still in the NCA used by Tesla.
In 2019, Johnson Matthey announced the commercialization of enhanced lithium nickel oxide (elno) super high energy battery cathode materials. The company has established a demonstration scale factory in clifro, UK, which can provide 1000 tons of samples for global battery manufacturers every year.
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It should be noted that lithium nickel oxide does not contain cobalt, but the share of cobalt has been reduced to the extent that it is difficult to present in proportion, so it is not too much to call it cobalt free. Ningde times is one of the closest partners of Johnson Matthey in the field of lithium battery.
On February 24, the Times financial reporter asked the insiders of Johnson Matthey about the Tesla cobalt free battery, but they didnt get a positive response. However, the insiders said, its not excluded that the cobalt free materials under research, such as lithium rich manganese base, high-voltage spinel, or quaternary material NCMA.
In addition to Johnson Matthey, there are other researches on cobalt free cathode materials.
For example, at the end of 2017, the lithium-rich manganese battery produced by Aoyou power (not applied on a large scale due to cycle life, production capacity and other reasons) was officially announced. In July 2019, the four element battery of honeycomb energy was actively disclosed.
In addition, in the announcement of the purchase agreement between Tesla and Ningde times, no order has been made, or a small amount of supply and other descriptions are in line with the actual research and development progress of prospective battery products that have not yet been applied on a large scale.
However, what kind of materials are Teslas self-developed batteries, or until Teslas power battery report is released in April, there will be real results.
Will super capacitor batteries overturn the lithium industry?
As remarkable as the domestic Tesla battery technology, Tesla announced that it was about to independently develop new batteries, and put forward a relatively unfamiliar concept, super capacitor battery.
Photo source: Tesla website
In fact, super capacitor is not a new concept. It was widely studied as early as the 1980s and is a battery product at the same time as lithium battery. However, in terms of performance, it is the opposite of lithium battery. Its most significant features are long life, high power, and low energy density (far lower than lithium battery).
Among them, the low energy density almost led to the death penalty of super capacitor in the field of electric vehicles, which also led to the rise of new energy, super capacitor has always been in the shadow of lithium battery.
On February 24, a senior battery R & D engineer told time finance, super capacitors are generally developed as start and stop batteries in the automotive field, not as the main energy supply of electric vehicles, and the capacity density is too low, but as auxiliary batteries, they can be considered.
According to Lu Hao, a new energy analyst, pure super capacitor has high specific power, but its energy density is too low to be used in EV. But the super capacitor lithium-ion battery combines the advantages of the two and has a theoretical application prospect. For example, the similar super capacitor lithium-ion battery has been launched in Chaoyang Liyuan before.
In 2015, Chaoyang Liyuan launched super capacitor lithium-ion battery, which uses high-energy density lithium battery as the main energy supply, and uses high-power super capacitor to output energy. According to Chaoyang Liyuan, the product is mainly for military enterprises, with a discharge capacity of 60C and a discharge current of 2000a, which can be used to start armored vehicles and tanks.
Lu Hao said, if we can solve the cost problem, the super capacitor lithium-ion battery may not have no possibility of being used in new energy vehicles, especially the characteristics of the super capacitor, which makes the battery perform well in the field of energy recovery and can effectively extend the endurance.
From this point of view, Teslas self-developed super capacitor battery is likely to be a combination of super capacitor and traditional lithium battery technology. It is worth mentioning that this technology is not inconsistent with the previous lithium iron phosphate, cobalt free batteries and even the solid-state batteries expected by the industry, and there is a possibility of compatibility.
For battery companies, the Tesla super capacitor battery under the water is undoubtedly a huge pressure; but at the same time, it may also be a reference technology direction.