China's largest solid-state battery manufacturing base is under construction in the Chongqing Liangjiang New Area. This massive project is making waves in the auto industry and beyond, highlighting the growth of key sectors in the next-generation new energy vehicle (NEV) industry.
Ganfeng Lithium, a leading lithium eco-enterprise, is investing in this manufacturing base, which boasts an annual cell capacity of 20 GWh.
A solid-state battery applied on a large scale
Solid-state batteries utilize solid electrodes and solid electrolytes, in contrast to traditional lithium batteries that rely on liquid electrolytes. Conventional lithium batteries have reached their energy density limits, creating a safety bottleneck. Solid-state battery structures enable a higher concentration of charged ions, increasing current conduction and significantly enhancing energy density and safety.
Zhou Xuan, head of the battery research department at a Chongqing NEV enterprise, explained,"A traditional lithium battery can hold a maximum of 1kWh for every 4kg. Theoretically, a 2kg or even 1kg solid-state battery can contain 1kWh. The energy density of a semi-solid state battery, which represents a transitional technology, is still 1/3 higher than traditional lithium batteries. This means NEVs can travel further with reduced weight and energy consumption."
Zhou believes that solid-state batteries are the most likely mature technology for large-scale applications in the near term.
Initially, Ganfeng Lithium's Chongqing base will focus on producing semi-solid state batteries, with plans to expand to solid-state battery production in the future. The facility has been designed to accommodate capacity expansion.
Market observer Qu Yunchao noted that globally renowned enterprises such as Samsung SDI, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Mercedes have all initiated solid-state battery industrialization and research projects, with several Chinese companies following suit.
"Based on the current situation, Chongqing is expected to establish large-scale capacity ahead of others," Qu added.
Model Seres 5 pure electric version to the European market
Chongqing's leadership in solid-state battery industrialization is closely tied to the efforts of local automakers.
During the Brussels Auto Show in January, Seres board chairman Zhang Zhengping announced that the Seres 5, a pure electric model, would be equipped with a 90kWh semi-solid-state battery for the European market.
Another Chongqing state-owned automaker, Changan Automobile, revealed plans to research and develop semi-solid-state batteries. Changan has been accelerating related technology research since 2021, with plans to implement the battery technology by 2025.
Some industry insiders believe that Chongqing has an advantage in securing a position in the future NEV core industries through its focus on solid-state batteries. However, they also acknowledge that solid-state battery technology is not yet fully mature, and its future remains uncertain.
Ganfeng Lithium also plans to establish a world-leading solid-state research and inspection center, attracting over 800 talented professionals and creating more than 3,000 job opportunities.
(written by Dai Yuan, Liangjiang New Area Media Center)