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China Aviation Lithium Battery Co. (CALB) has global ambitions, backed by a successful Hong Kong IPO, international expansions, and strategic EV maker partnerships.

Geoff Giordano

March 5, 2024

4 Min Read
CALB at RE+
CALB unveiling its 314Ah energy storage solution at RE+ 2023, an energy solutions exhibition held in Las Vegas.Image courtesy of CALB

The China Aviation Lithium Battery Co. (CALB) hit the road in a big way in 2023, touting its new “U” structure battery and its plans to speed the electrification of Europe — all while aiming to become the world’s third-largest EV battery supplier and greatly expand its total production capacity by 2030.

With seven production facilities in China and planned total annual capacity of 200 gigawatt hours (GWh), CALB was ranked No. 7 among the world’s largest suppliers of EV batteries in 2022, according to SNE Research.

In January of this year the company was reported to be part of China’s government-driven initiative to commercialize all-solid-state batteries (SSBs). The initiative, named the China All-Solid-State Battery Collaborative Innovation Platform (CASIP), was established in January 2024 to create a supply chain for solid-state batteries by 2030.

A broad tech portfolio

Founded in 2007, CALB showcased its broad technology portfolio and bold growth ambitions at the IAA Mobility event in Munich. Among the products that garnered particular attention were CALB’s One-Stop (OS) 6C batteries.

CALB Chairperson and CEO Liu Jingyu delivered a keynote emphasizing the company’s commitment not only to battery performance and safety, but also the efficient use of resources and management of overall lifecycle costs.

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

"Our patent strategy aims to build a robust patent protection system while focusing on technological and product innovation, with the goal of creating a correct and sustainable development path for the healthy growth of the power battery industry."

International expansion

Expanding internationally, CALB has invested in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Portugal, set to begin production early in 2026 with initial annual capacity of 15 GWh. The facility, at the Port of Sines, will be CALB’s first in Europe.

"We are prepared to support European domestic automakers,” Liu asserted in Munich.

Europe, the US, and Southeast Asia make sense as growth opportunities given the company’s high penetration rate in China, according to Zheng Xiang, head of the Portugal factory, as reported by China Daily.

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Overall, CALB reportedly aims to expand its total annual capacity to 500 GWh by 2025 and 1,000 GWh by 2030. The company in 2022 signed contracts with two more Chinese cities to build production facilities in the southern province of Guangdong. In late 2022, the company raised $1.26 billion in its Hong Kong IPO with the goal of catapulting into the No. 3 global ranking of EV battery makers by 2027.

Related:China Firms Push Envelope of Battery Technology

Taking a U turn

Taking aim at traditional cylindrical batteries, CALB in April unveiled a departure from the tabless design concept at the China EV 100 Forum event.

“We have made a disruptive innovation to the structure of the cylindrical battery by introducing the ‘U’ type structure,” CALB Vice President Xie Qiu said at the event. Thanks to the new design’s tabless structure, the battery’s production line uses 70% fewer welding machines.

The U structure improves shell conductivity by reducing the electrical resistance of structural components 50%. The battery also achieves energy density of 300 Wh/kg when using nickel-cobalt-manganese chemistry, or 200 Wh/kg with lithium-iron-phosphate or lithium-manganese-iron-phosphate chemistries.

CALB also claims its U-structure battery supports 6C charging speeds because lower internal resistance keeps cell heat down – meaning it can be fully charged in 10 minutes.

A powerful vision

In a global partner conference at its headquarters in Jiangsu, Liu reiterated CALB’s ambitions to rise through the ranks of global EV battery suppliers.

The company reached 3.6 GWh of installation volume in September, good enough for fourth place among global battery manufacturers and third in China, according to SNE Research as reported by the China Daily. Liu has her eyes on ranking among the top three in installation volume worldwide, according to a Nov. 27 report in China Daily.

CALB batteries are powering plenty of vehicles as the power battery industry is poised to undergo a “golden decade,” according to CALB Senior Vice President Dai Ying. Chinese EV startups Nio, Xpeng and Leapmotor are using CALB batteries, as are established Chinese marques Changan, Geely and GAC Aion. By the fourth quarter of this year, Dai said, CALB semi-solid batteries are to be installed in some models of a foreign luxury brand.

Meawhile, the company plans to begin mass producing its 5C and 46 Series large cylindrical 6C batteries this year.

In terms of financing, Dai said CALB is preparing for IPOs in additional markets, after having gone public in Hong Kong in 2022. The company reportedly signed agreements with six domestic and foreign banks to underpin its expansion plans.

EV Battery Leaders is a series of occasional features profiling the top makers of EV batteries worldwide.

About the Author(s)

Geoff Giordano

Geoff Giordano is a tech journalist with more than 30 years’ experience in all facets of publishing. He has reported extensively on the manufacturing, medical, and plastics industries. A top-shelf content creator, versatile large-market journalist, and tireless communications strategist, Geoff notes that after running a daily news operation, everything else is a piece of cake. Contact him at [email protected].

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