Author: China Energy Storage Network News source: krypton 36
China Energy Storage Network News: The powerful enemy is new, and internal worries are looming. CATL has been quite troubled recently.
On March 16, CATL’s share price plunged 9.87% to close at 119.06 yuan.
According to media reports, CATL’s stock price plummeted this time due to a shareholding reduction plan last Friday. According to the announcement, Ningde Times shareholders Zhaoyin No. 3 and China Merchants Bank Power plan to reduce their holdings by no more than 44.168 million shares (not more than 2% of the company's total equity) through block transactions or centralized bidding. Since its listing, CATL has encountered shareholder reductions for the first time.
What makes the CATL even more troublesome is that more and more car companies choose to build their own battery production lines, which means that the CATL not only faces the risk of customer loss, but also new opponents.
On March 9, according to foreign media reports, Volvo officially started production at its electric car plant in Ghent, Belgium. It is understood that this will be Volvo's first factory with a professional battery assembly line.
It is Tesla that deployed the battery business earlier than Volvo.
According to a report on the electrek website, Tesla is building a pilot battery production line at the Fremont plant in the United States. Unlike its battery factory operating in Nevada, Tesla designed its own battery production equipment. "I hope to control my own destiny on the battery issue," said Drew Bagrino, Tesla's vice president of technology.
Some analysts believe that Tesla will open the supply of battery products to other car companies after the battery capacity is sufficient to meet its own needs. If Tesla is re-examined as a battery manufacturer, this is still a powerful opponent worthy of vigilance. Today's partners Panasonic, CATL and LG Chem will have to "turn friends into enemies", and a new battle will be formed in the field of power batteries.
Battery vendors launch alliance campaign
There are not a few car companies like Tesla that build their own battery factories.
General Motors will build a battery production base in the United States. Mercedes-Benz has 9 battery factories in Europe, Asia and North America. BYD has 5 battery factories in China, located in Huizhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Xi'an and Qinghai. Geely has two battery factories in Ningbo and Jinhua, and its battery factory in Jingzhou will be completed and put into production this year.
If car companies can achieve "battery freedom", battery companies will face the risk of losing customers. Therefore, many battery manufacturers have taken precautions and launched an alliance campaign in advance.
The Swedish battery company Northvolt and Volkswagen jointly established a battery factory. After LG Chem and General Motors jointly established a new energy vehicle battery joint venture, they joined hands with Hyundai. French battery manufacturer Saft and Peugeot Citroen Group (PSA) have jointly established two automotive power battery plants. Even Panasonic, who has fought side by side with Tesla for 10 years, is looking for a good partner.
On February 3, 2020, Panasonic announced a partnership with Toyota Motor. The two parties will establish a joint venture battery company named "Taixing Energy Solutions Co., Ltd." in two months. The company is 51% owned by Toyota and 49% by Panasonic. In this cooperation, Panasonic has added a new battery pack technology route and will provide Toyota with car prismatic batteries.
In an interview with Nikkei, a senior executive of Panasonic expressed the "mystery", "Panasonic is striving to build a TTP system." TTP refers to Tesla (Tesla), Toyota (Toyota), Panasonic (Panasonic) ).
In the era of the global power battery giant Ningde, it has already set up the battle in advance through "alliance" with many car companies.
So far, CATL has reached joint ventures or equity-level cooperation with the six state-owned automobile companies of FAW, BAIC, GAC, Dongfeng, SAIC, and Changan to jointly develop and produce power batteries. In addition, it also established a battery joint venture with Zhejiang Jirun, a subsidiary of Geely Automobile. According to incomplete statistics, there are already about 30 domestic and foreign auto companies "allied" with the CATL.
CATL has become a representative in the camp of joint production of batteries with car companies.
Take fate in your own hands
Colleagues have clung to the "thighs" of the CATL to reduce the cost of manufacturing electric vehicles. Tesla has taken a different approach and has been "conspiring" to build its own battery.
Power batteries are the key components of electric vehicles. Localizing or even self-producing this ring will completely avoid the risk of production shutdown due to battery suppliers’ shortages. In addition, it will also significantly reduce the production costs of electric vehicles. As Tesla’s vice president of technology Drew Bagrino said, “I hope to control my own destiny on the battery issue.”
In February 2019, Tesla announced the acquisition of a 79% stake in the supercapacitor manufacturer Maxwell. According to Maxwell, its dry electrode technology can increase the energy density of the cell to more than 300Wh/kg, and it is expected to further increase to 500Wh/kg in the future. If this technology is applied to the battery of Tesla models, it will last for a single charge. Will easily break 1,000 kilometers. Maxwell's technology can also increase battery energy density by 15-25% in a 2-3 year cycle, and at the same time, battery costs will be reduced by 10%-15%.
Incorporating Maxwell under its command, Tesla continues to develop battery technology research and development.
According to electrek, Tesla battery research engineer Jeff Dahn (Jeff Dahn) said that the new battery tested by the team can support Tesla's battery life of up to 1.6 million miles. In contrast, Musk appears to be more "cautious". He announced in April 2019 that he expects to introduce batteries with a service life of more than 1 million miles in 2020. Tests show that the million-mile super battery is at least 2 times longer than the existing battery life, and the battery life will no longer be a bottleneck in the development of electric vehicles.
In June 2019, Musk said that in order to obtain enough batteries, the company may enter the mining industry. Subsequently, the formation of a technical team was also put on the agenda by Musk.
A few months later, Tesla’s recruitment information showed that it was building a new battery production line in Fremont and needed to find battery manufacturing technicians, analysts and testers.
In February 2020, Musk's self-produced battery plan was officially exposed.
Among the auto companies that build their own battery factories, there are not many "ambitious" like Tesla who are devoted to researching battery technology. An automotive electronics engineer told Future Auto Daily, “For example, the battery factories established by Mercedes-Benz are just battery pack assembly factories and do not produce batteries.”
Similar to Tesla is BYD.
Tesla vs. CATL?
In fact, it may not be cost-effective to only supply batteries to your home.
BYD is one of the few new energy car companies that can realize self-production and self-sale of batteries, and its battery sales were once the largest in the country. However, in 2017, the CATL suddenly emerged, and the installed capacity surpassed BYD.
BYD, which lost to the CATL, realized that the self-production and self-sales model was too restrictive for the battery business, and began to consider independent battery business. BYD chairman Wang Chuanfu revealed in an interview that “the company plans to list its battery business group to raise funds to accelerate development.” In other words, BYD is finally about to sell batteries to other car companies. It is understood that BYD has already supplied power batteries to car companies such as Dongfeng Motor and Chengdu Bus.
In the fourth quarter of 2019 earnings call, Musk revealed that the production capacity of batteries should be increased to a "crazy level that people cannot imagine today." This means that Musk may also have ambitions to enter the battery field. The auto companies represented by Tesla and BYD will soon become a force that cannot be ignored in the battery war. In the future, "battery supplier" Tesla may stand on the opposite side of the CATL.
Moreover, from the official data, Tesla seems to be slightly better in terms of battery technology.
In 2019, the maximum energy density of the ternary battery of CATL reached 182.44Wh/kg, and the maximum energy density of lithium iron phosphate batteries reached 150.75Wh/kg, which is in line with Maxwell's claim that "the energy density of the battery cell is increased to more than 300Wh/kg, which can easily break through a single time. There is a big gap in the data of 1,000 kilometers of charging life.
In the field of power batteries, Tesla is about to strike for the first time.
Industrial Securities predicts that Tesla will launch a "cobalt-free" battery on the Battery Day held on April 20, which is probably the new type of lithium produced by Maxwell that uses a new high nickel positive electrode + pre-lithiated negative electrode + dry battery technology + super capacitor Ion batteries and super lithium iron phosphate batteries using CTP technology are two products.
However, some auto industry insiders told Future Auto Daily that the competition between Tesla and CATL may not happen, "Tesla's original intention was to sell more cars, not to be a battery supplier."