On the afternoon of January 16, 2021, the Senior Forum of China EV 100 was opened in Beijing. Zeng Yuqun, the founder and chairman of Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited gave a speech online.
Zeng Yuqun said that 2020 was an extremely special year. Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, the world paid more attention to green development. Countries around the world are more determined to achieve carbon neutrality and combat climate change, and the electrification of transportation and the clean energy of power are accelerating comprehensively. Today, I’d like to share with you the latest market trends and trends, the solutions of CATL, and the four innovation systems and three aspects of realizing sustainable development around this theme.
In 2020, major global economies expressed their support for green development. Chinese President Xi Jinping made a solemn promise to the world of “peaking carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060”. The EU and Japan have accelerated their carbon reduction efforts, and the US plans to rejoin the Paris Agreement, and carbon neutrality has become a global consensus.
Energy and transportation are the major emitters of carbon, so achieving clean energy and electrification of transportation is an important guarantee for carbon neutrality. The invention and application of lithium-ion batteries have made it possible for mankind to realize a society without fossil fuels, which was the reason why the Nobel Prize was awarded.
Currently, lithium-ion batteries have been widely used in private cars, buses, and logistics vehicles, and are replacing mobile fossil fuels. Based on this, with the combination of intelligence, it has gradually extended to specific fields such as mines, ports, and ships, realizing the replacement of fossil fuels in specific scenarios. From the perspective of power generation, the cost of photovoltaics and wind power continues to decrease and is expected to enter the stage of parity and ultimately achieve low-cost access to the grid. The development of high-proportion renewable energy provides broad prospects for the energy storage applications of lithium-ion batteries.
Moreover, looking further into the future, the lithium industry market will usher in an outbreak in the next 5 years, rapidly entering into a TWh era. High efficiency and quality delivery are the core competitiveness. We compete with top global players in the upstream and downstream chains, and we must work together to meet challenges.
On Wednesday, the authoritative institution SNE released the 2020 global lithium-ion battery statistics. Although the global power battery installation in 2020 was still affected by the pandemic, it still reached 137 GWh, maintaining a growth rate of 17%, of which CATL installed 34 GWh, ranking first in the world for four consecutive years.
Starting from 2021, there will be a significant increase in global demand for lithium-ion batteries, but can the supply side meet the demand? Currently, the growth of capacity supply across the whole industry chain is relatively slow, leading to insufficient effective supply.Electricity and intelligence are accelerating their penetration into various application scenarios with diverse and constantly changing demands. Diversification and platformization provide the most optimal technological solutions for various scenarios, making it an effective approach that demands attention. In the passenger car sector, we have developed a 12V lithium battery auxiliary power source that weighs 80% less and takes up 60% less volume than traditional lead-acid batteries, while also being maintenance-free for life. Our 48V and HEV battery packs can achieve high discharge rates up to 60C, our PHEV battery packs can achieve automatic energy recovery at 10C or above, and our BEV battery packs can achieve a range of over 1000 kilometers, 10-minute fast charging, and a lifespan of 16 years and 2 million kilometers, which have essentially addressed consumer anxieties about distance, charging, and lifespan.
In the commercial vehicle sector, most vehicles are equipment that comes in various complex and changing models. To meet this demand, we have developed long-life batteries that guarantee high-intensity operation and provide the necessary quality guarantee; standardized battery packs have effectively improved general applicability; and we have teamed up with industry chain partners to introduce new commercial models such as vehicle and battery leasing. We’ve also found that the demands of households and food delivery drivers for two-wheelers differ, so we designed batteries that can be charged quickly or easily swapped, and their lifespan is long enough for a single battery to serve the entire vehicle lifespan, which saves on battery replacement costs.
In the energy storage sector, we’ve transitioned from R&D demonstrations to scaled development. With support from the “Thirteenth Five-Year Plan” for smart grid R&D, we’ve broken through the bottleneck of cycle life. Our batteries can work for 25 years with a cycle life of 12,000 times. We have passed UL safety tests, making our systems non-spreading and non-combustible, which is a global first. By adopting 1500V and liquid cooling technology, our energy density and efficiency have significantly improved. In the last two years, we have provided important markets in photovoltaics and energy storage overseas, while China remains the primary supplier. Although photovoltaic development in China is progressing rapidly, there is still a lack of policies and market mechanisms for scaled promotion of energy storage.
As the market grows rapidly and customer requirements continue to rise, we must rely on a strong innovation system to provide high-level products and achieve high-quality delivery. After years of accumulation, CATL has gradually formed four major innovation systems: material systems, system structures, extreme manufacturing, and commercial models.
Firstly, innovation in material systems is critical. In the next cycle of time, lithium iron phosphate and ternary materials still have room for improvement and will continue to be the absolute mainstream, after which new systems will emerge, and we will need to deeply understand the materials and their interface properties on an atomic scale to achieve a fundamental breakthrough in material systems, and find a more cost-effective approach, moving away from the reliance on many precious metals while responding to long-term and massive market demands.
Secondly, innovation in system structures, including our CTP and CTC, mainly optimizes systems, improves integration, reduces system energy consumption and cost, and improves efficiency.### Thirdly, innovative extreme manufacturing requires achieving three goals:
- To improve single-cell safety failure rate from PPM level to PPB level by three orders of magnitude.
- To ensure reliability throughout the entire lifecycle, from the first cycle to thousands of cycles, and to study the microscopic structures and distributions that drive evolution and change, laying the foundation for this work.
- To significantly increase production efficiency to achieve high-quality TWh-level deliveries.
Fourthly, innovate the business model.
To support China’s lithium industry in the TWh era and truly succeed in the world, a supply chain ecosystem must form from raw materials, battery manufacturing, operation services, to material recycling.
In addition, I would also like to discuss the relationship between product platformization and differentiation. Full electrification of transportation and full clean energy generation is a complex, enormous process that requires standardized, platform-based design to save resources and maximize output. Platform-based design does not erase differentiation. For example, our CTP product can meet individual and differentiated range requirements by configuring different battery capacities and life spans, and by providing fast battery changes for high-intensity applications and V2G for low-intensity applications, and by configuring low temperature rapid heating for extremely cold regions.
Furthermore, function integration and stacking are also a direction to explore. For example, our development of intelligent charging piles with integrated light storage and charging and testing capabilities allows for high-power charging without electrical capacity expansion, saving land and even providing new energy for new energy vehicles through photovoltaic roofs. The charging process is also a deep diagnostic of the battery, which provides maintenance recommendations and residual value evaluations, making the energy storage system a participant in ancillary services such as power peak shaving and frequency regulation, thus increasing profit models.
In short, the new energy vehicle, renewable energy, and electrochemical energy storage industries have reached a turning point and have an unprecedentedly broad market. Only faster progress can meet demand, maintain a leading edge, and keep pace with the smart electric era. The vast sky is our canvas, so let us work together to reach the peak of the era and move faster and farther.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email email@example.com.