SK Innovation is planning to develop an electric vehicle (EV) battery that uses 98% nickel, TheElec learned on Tuesday.
The South Korean energy giant has recently finalized a road map up to the year 2030 to develop next-generation batteries that dramatically increase the portion of nickel.
The company will also launch a battery with zero cobalt.
SK Innovation’s NCM811 (nickel, cobalt and manganese in around 8 to 1 to 1 ratio) batteries have nickel slightly over 80%.
The company’s NCM9½½ batteries, meanwhile, have around 88% nickel. SK Innovation is planning to begin mass production of these in 2023.
The goal by 2030 is to increase nickel portion to 98%.
SK Innovation will also launch a battery with nickel in the mid-90%, depending on request from its automobile clients.
Nickel and cobalt are crucial materials for current battery production. But cobalt is expensive and there is controversy of human rights violation at where they are mined.
Increasing nickel over cobalt can increase energy density of batteries that will allow them to support more travel distances per charge.
Chinese battery maker CATL is supplying NCM811 batteries for BMW SUV iX3. LG Chem begin production of NCM712 in May at its factory in Poland. The South Korean batter maker is planning to launch NCMA (A is for aluminum) batteries with over 80% nickel next year. These will be produced at Ultium Cells, its joint venture with General Motors.
Samsung SDI is also planning to produce its Gen5 NCA (nickel, cobalt and aluminum) batteries that have over 80% nickel at its factory in Hungary. Production will begin by the end of the year at the earliest. Mass production will begin next year.
CATL has said it plans to launch batteries that don’t use nickel but this will take time to verify in terms of performance and stability, a person familiar with the matter said. The focus of battery makers for the next decade will be launching high-nickel batteries, they said.