At present, the world has experienced the epidemic for the third year, and the number of confirmed cases abroad has continued to rise; on the other hand, global inflation has continued to rise, and prices have been rising all the way, so we must upgrade consumption. Come to higher demands. The consumer electronics market tends to be saturated, and the development direction of lithium batteries is power batteries and energy storage.
In recent years, the purchase cost of lithium batteries by consumer electronics brands or OEMs has become lower and lower, but the quality requirements have become higher and higher. This forces us to increase the pass-through rate (from the start of cell feeding to the final battery product), and strive for low-cost material procurement costs as much as possible (on the one hand, it involves the number of orders, and on the other hand, the payment method).
Guangzhou Automobile Group stated that the cost of electric vehicles accounted for 40% of the total vehicle cost, the price increased to 50%, and now it is close to 60%. The cost of batteries is undoubtedly the core competitiveness of new energy vehicle companies, and there is not even one of them. Car companies must grasp their “destiny” in order not to fall behind. In commercial procurement, Toyota is also constantly seeking breakthroughs. Because the cost of raw materials accounts for 50-60% of the cost of batteries, Toyota Motor has jointly planned low-cost procurement with Toyota Tsusho (the company responsible for Toyota’s overseas investment and trade) within the group, and also cooperated with external Mitsui & Co., Mitsubishi Corporation, Iwatani, and other companies jointly formulate procurement strategies.
Therefore, in terms of R&D, management, procurement, etc., Toyota even cooperates with external companies to maximize the reduction of power battery costs. This is worth learning from our OEMs and battery factories. We hope that in the same industry, in addition to the competition, we also There is cooperate.
Returning to the lithium battery cell itself, about 60% of the cost of the single cell of a power battery involves electrode materials. The material cost of battery manufacturers is mainly the procurement of raw materials, which is largely affected by scale and material performance characteristics. We believe that reducing the cost of power batteries requires efforts in both electrode materials and battery production:
- Scale and standardize. Standardization is the premise of automation, and scale is the inevitable requirement of automation. In order to minimize the production cost of power batteries, it is necessary to unify the size and specifications of the battery cells, which will inevitably involve the coordination and standardization of electrode materials-battery cores-complete vehicle-the whole industry chain. The difficulty can be imagined. From the perspective of the material system, there are two mainstream systems: the MNC system and lithium iron phosphate; from the perspective of shape structure, there are cylinders and squares of various sizes.
- Anode and cathode materials. International battery manufacturers not only rely on bargaining power to control raw material suppliers but more importantly, rely on battery manufacturers’ own grasp of material properties and production technology to participate in the production/operation of material factories.
Nickel, cobalt, and manganese are important components of the anode electrode of ternary lithium batteries(MNC batteries). Among them, cobalt, a veritable rare metal, is expensive and fluctuates greatly. For the status quo of the raw material side, power battery manufacturers must know their best. In order to ease supply pressure and reduce costs, power battery manufacturers have started their research and development of low-cobalt and high-nickel power batteries several years ago. The ratio of nickel, cobalt, and manganese in ternary lithium batteries has evolved from the original 111 eras to 433, 532, 622, and 811 (the numbers represent the ratio of nickel, cobalt, and manganese, respectively).
Today, leading power battery manufacturers such as CATL, Panasonic, LG New Energy, and Samsung SDI have mass-produced 811 MNC lithium batteries, and some power battery manufacturers have even begun to deploy cobalt-free batteries. Among them, Honeycomb Energy started mass production of its cobalt-free batteries as early as last July.
We believe that adjusting the ratio of cathode materials is only a compromise for power battery manufacturers in the process of rising raw material prices. Direct control of power battery raw materials and competition at the raw material side may be the final battle for power battery manufacturers. You must know that the price increase caused by the shortage of raw materials has become the biggest variable in the development of new energy vehicles. Only by controlling the source can power battery manufacturers further control production capacity and costs.
In order to compete in the field of raw materials, in the CATL era, manufacturers such as BYD, Guoxuan Hi-Tech, and EVE Energy have begun to adopt acquisitions and other methods to enter the raw material industry. Seeing this, careful friends must have discovered that, whether it is a power battery supplier or a raw material supplier, their raw material mining and smelting projects are carried out abroad without exception.
The reason why this happens is mainly that nickel is mainly rich in New Caledonia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, and other countries. my country’s nickel ore reserves are not rich, and the competition for raw materials conducted by Chinese enterprises abroad is also It wasn’t all smooth sailing.
If Chinese companies want to compete abroad, they need to face not only involution among their peers but also a game with the local government. You must know that any country has certain protection policies for local enterprises, especially mineral resources. Therefore, Chinese enterprises going abroad to mine nickel and lithium resources, which have become popular now, may touch the interests of local enterprises.
In order to obtain power battery raw materials, in addition to the acquisition of minerals, waste power battery recycling is also a new blue ocean with great commercial development potential.
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