BusinessKorea reported on February 11 that more and more Chinese enterprises are entering the field of cylindrical power batteries, a market that has conventionally been led by South Korean and Japanese EV battery manufacturers.
The report unveiled that major Chinese battery firms including CATL, EVE and BAK Battery plan to start mass production of the 4680 cylindrical battery model this year. EVE and BAK Battery are currently building infrastructure for the production of nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) batteries with a diameter of 46 mm and a length of 80 mm.
The report pointed out that up to now, Chinese enterprises have been focusing on lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. However, with some automakers such as Tesla, and other electric vehicle startups interested in 4680 batteries, they are shifting their focus towards cylindrical batteries.
The 4680 cylindrical battery was introduced by Tesla in September 2020. It adopts non-polar ear design and has a greater size and energy density. However, larger capacity means that the production is more difficult. Because the battery is too large, it is difficult to dissipate heat from the center, which also leads to safety problems. In addition, due to the adjustment of processes, materials and production lines, the initial yield of 4680 battery products is only about 20%.
In order to improve, Tesla has been looking for cooperative manufacturers of 4680 cylindrical batteries worldwide. On February 2, Panasonic said it would start trial production of 4680 batteries at the beginning of this year. In addition to Panasonic, South Korea’s LG Energy Solution, Samsung SDI and several Chinese power battery companies are speeding up investment in 4680 batteries.