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China Invests a Fresh $830M in National SSB Initiative

Four months after announcing a major government/academia/industry initiative to develop all-solid-state batteries, the Chinese government is putting the money in place.

Michael C. Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology

May 30, 2024

3 Min Read
China President Xi
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the National Peoples Congress at the Great Hall of the People on March 11, 2024 in Beijing, China.Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

China is set to invest over 6 billion yuan ($830 million) in a government-led initiative to advance solid-state battery technology, with six companies poised to receive state funding, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

The companies eligible for government support include CATL, the world's largest battery manufacturer, as well as major automakers BYD and Geely, the China Daily reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed industrial sources.

This "unprecedented" project will be overseen by relevant government ministries and commissions, although specific details have not been disclosed. Alongside CATL, BYD—competing with Tesla as the world's largest EV seller and also a battery manufacturer—along with automakers FAW, SAIC, and Geely, have been selected for the initiative, the sources said.

The global SSB quest

Solid-state batteries offer higher energy density, reduced flammability, and greater flexibility for car designers, promising to extend the driving range of EVs significantly. Despite their potential, ASSBs are not yet widely available due to high production costs and challenges in mass manufacturing.

Toyota and other Japanese companies have traditionally led in solid-state battery research. Toyota plans to introduce EVs equipped with solid-state batteries by 2027–2028, and Nissan aims to do the same by fiscal 2028. European automakers like Volkswagen and BMW are also actively working on commercializing solid-state batteries in collaboration with startups. In the US, companies such as Our Next Energy (ONE) are developing and attempting to scale production of SSBs.

Related:China Alliance Aims To Win SSB Race: How Scared Should Competitors Be?

CASIP catch-up

The news of this investment and the companies involved follows last February’s news that China was uniting battery and car manufacturers in a government-driven initiative to commercialize all-solid-state batteries. As we reported at the time, the China All-Solid-State Battery Collaborative Innovation Platform (CASIP), was being established to create a supply chain for solid-state batteries by 2030.

CASIP was announced as an all-in initiative to bring together government entities, academia, and industry players, including major EV battery competitors such as CATL and BYD.

Noteworthy participants in the CASIP alliance include battery makers CATL, FinDreams Battery (a subsidiary of BYD), CALB, EVE Energy, and Gotion High-Tech. Significantly, six of the top 10 global automotive battery manufacturers are part of the initiative. Participants include both state-owned and private automakers, such as BYD and Nio.

Related:As China Signals Retaliation, Tesla’s Musk Does About-Face on US China Tariffs

The Chinese government's involvement in CASIP is substantial, with key members from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), and the National Energy Administration in the mix.

Interestingly, although the current reporting about China newly investing in SSB features some of the same companies, CASIP itself, widely publicized in February, isn’t mentioned by name.

Tariff tensions

The announcement of Beijing’s planned investment comes amid tense trade relations with the West. Earlier this month, the Biden administration imposed significant new tariffs on Chinese EVs, advanced batteries, and other goods, citing the need to protect US jobs and businesses from issues arising from overproduction in China, the world’s second-largest economy.

Next month, the European Commission is expected to announce its decision on Chinese EV tariffs, which could pose challenges for Chinese EV manufacturers exporting hundreds of thousands of cars to Europe annually.

Despite these trade tensions, Beijing is intensifying its efforts to boost EV production as part of its strategy to mitigate an economic slowdown induced by the property sector and to advance a low-carbon economy.

Related:'Who Are Those Guys?' Meet the China SSB Alliance Battery Companies

About the Author(s)

Michael C. Anderson

Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology, Informa Markets - Engineering

Battery Technology Editor-in-Chief Michael C. Anderson has been covering manufacturing and transportation technology developments for more than a quarter-century, with editor roles at Manufacturing Engineering, Cutting Tool Engineering, Automotive Design & Production, and Smart Manufacturing. Before all of that, he taught English and literature at colleges in Japan and Michigan.

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