Chinese battery maker Gotion High-Tech on Friday unveiled an “affordable,” iron-based electric vehicle battery called Astroinno, saying it offers a more than 1,000 kilometer (620 mile) range on a single charge without using expensive materials such as cobalt and nickel.
Why it matters: The battery, which uses a manganese-based cathode, is a potential offering to a group of automakers for their mainstream models. The new battery could mean a higher energy density than conventional lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries and come at a lower cost than ones which rely mostly on nickel and cobalt.
Details: The Astroinno battery has a cell-level energy density of 240 watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg) and reaches 190 Wh/kg at a system level. By comparison, larger rival CATL’s latest Qilin battery reaches around 255 Wh/kg systematically, while giant maker BYD is working to increase the energy density of its blade battery to 180 Wh/kg from 150 Wh/kg before 2025.
- The new battery provides a driving range of over 1,000 km to EVs powered by a 140 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack, Cheng Qian, Gotion’s executive president of the international business unit, said at a press event in the eastern city of Hefei. This points to a performance similar to that of CATL’s Qilin battery, Bloomberg has reported.
- Cheng added the batteries could be charged from a low-level to 80% in 18 minutes and maintain an 88% yield rate when the temperature drops to minus 20 degrees Celsius, which would ensure EVs maintain their ranges in cold weather.
- The company plans to start manufacturing the battery as early as 2024, but did not reveal any client names.
Context: Gotion said on May 10 that it had signed a new contract to be Volkswagen’s primary supplier of cobalt-free, unified LFP battery cells outside China, catering to all of its EV series. It has yet to reveal how many batteries it plans to make for Volkswagen’s vehicles under the contract.
- The company signed a pilot deal a year ago to mass produce both energy-dense nickel-containing battery cells and economical LFP ones for Volkswagen in the Chinese market.
- The Chinese battery supplier told investors it will be ready to begin delivering its products to VW during the first half of 2024, which would be applicable to the vehicles built upon the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), VW’s next-generation platform for smart electric cars.
- Volkswagen has been Gotion’s largest shareholder following a $1.2 billion investment deal announced in 2020. China’s fourth biggest battery maker, Gotion shipped 14.1 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of batteries last year, following CATL, BYD, and CALB, according to SNE Research.
Correction: an earlier version of this article included Volkswagen as a potential automaker that might use the Astroinno battery. Volkswagen has since reached out and said the current cooperation between Volkswagen and Gotion is focused only on unified cell, and no other type of battery is involved.