What changes are urgently needed for the power battery, known as the "heart" of new energy vehicles
In the development of vehicle electrification, battery technology innovation has played a major role. It is precisely because of the battery revolution that the automobile revolution has been promoted.
New energy vehicles are in a high-speed growth channel. In the first half of this year, the sales of new energy vehicles in my country increased by 115%, and the market share reached 21.6%. On the whole, the whole industry has begun to enter the stage of qualitative change from quantitative change. Some international auto giants have released timetables for stopping the sale of fuel vehicles, and some domestic auto companies have also proposed plans to completely stop selling fuel vehicles by 2025. In terms of innovation, in 2021, the number of disclosed automobile patents in my country will be 320,000, of which patents for new energy vehicles and intelligent connected vehicles will account for 43.4%.
There are various signs that the pattern of the auto industry is undergoing major changes. New energy vehicles are evolving from being a pioneer in industrial transformation in the past to becoming a leading force in the innovation and development of the auto industry. This trend is irreversible and is accelerating.
The battery revolution drives the car revolution
In the development of vehicle electrification, battery technology innovation has played a major role. It is precisely because of the battery revolution that the automobile revolution has been promoted. In 2011, the specific energy of mainstream power batteries was only about 100 Wh/kg, the system cost was 4 yuan/Wh, and the battery accounted for more than half of the vehicle cost. By 2021, the technical indicators of power batteries will undergo major changes. The specific energy of a single unit will reach 300 Wh/kg, the system cost will be reduced to less than 1 yuan/Wh, and the battery cost will be reduced to about 1/3 of the entire vehicle. 10 years ago, Japanese and Korean battery companies dominated the market, and now China has entered the first echelon. In 2021, 6 battery companies in China will enter the world's top ten in terms of market size, and there are world-class batteries such as CATL and BYD. Companies, Chinese battery companies have begun to go abroad, build factories overseas, and enter the international supply chain system. In the past, our country mainly focused on battery integration. Now, we have formed the most complete and largest power battery industry system in the world, from material research and development, battery production, recycling to equipment support. The four major raw materials of positive electrode, negative electrode, electrolyte and diaphragm are basically Getting rid of import dependence, the localization rate of lithium battery equipment has reached more than 90%, and the localization rate of equipment in key processes has reached more than 80%. During this period, the cost-effectiveness of electric vehicles has rapidly improved. The cruising range has grown from more than 100 kilometers in the past to 600-800 kilometers or even higher at present. The cost of some models has become competitive with fuel vehicles. In the past, concerns about safety, charging and other issues It has also continued to improve, and the development of the battery industry has played a key role in the acceptance of electric vehicles by the market.
At the same time, the battery revolution will also promote the energy revolution in the future. The car of the future will be a unit in the energy internet system and a powerful carrier for storing and consuming intermittent renewable energy. New energy vehicles can supplement the flexible resources of a high-proportion renewable power system through orderly charging, vehicle-network interaction, battery swapping, and decommissioning battery energy storage, so as to solve the seasonal dependence of renewable energy power generation represented by wind power and photovoltaics. , the discontinuity and instability of the impact of meteorological and geographical conditions, supporting the transformation of the energy system. It is estimated that there will be 300 million electric vehicles in China in 2040. If each vehicle has an average of 65 kWh of electricity, the 300 million vehicles can be equipped with 20 billion kWh of electricity. Through V2G and orderly charging flexibility adjustment, it will meet the needs of a large number of available electric vehicles. Peak shaving demand for renewable energy power generation. To a certain extent, the battery has become a new "energy source".
Several important issues that continue to drive the battery revolution
1. Accelerate the layout of next-generation batteries. my country's battery industry has achieved good results in the last stage, but it should be noted that the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Europe are increasing their support for next-generation batteries, and my country still has the risk of being dumped due to technological changes. For example, the United States plans to achieve large-scale mass production of solid-state batteries and lithium metal batteries by 2030; Japan plans to achieve mass production of all-solid-state batteries by 2030; South Korea will invest 306.6 billion won in 2023-2028, striving to achieve solid-state batteries, lithium-sulfur batteries ahead of schedule Commercial application of batteries and lithium metal batteries; the European Commission has approved the provision of 3.2 billion euros of aid to seven member states participating in battery projects to support battery technology research and project innovation. Judging from the development plans of major countries or regions in the world, 2030 is a key node. It is expected that next-generation batteries such as solid-state batteries and lithium-sulfur batteries will enter the market on a large scale around 2030. At present, my country should increase investment in research and development of next-generation batteries, improve the links of the new technology industry chain, and seek suitable application scenarios to promote technology implementation and iteration.
2. Keep an eye on the original innovation of batteries. Lithium battery technology originated in Europe and the United States. After that, Japan and South Korea commercialized lithium batteries, and China realized the mature application of lithium batteries in industrialization. Although it is difficult for European and American companies to challenge the status of the giant battery companies of China, Japan and South Korea in the current situation, the power battery technology is not perfect, and there is still a lot of room for development. Europe and the United States have strong basic research capabilities and are extremely qualified There is a lot of disruptive innovation. Our country should extend from production to basic innovation, and strengthen the building of basic research capabilities in chemistry, physics, and materials. At the same time, as the power battery moves towards the TWh era, we must also pay close attention to the innovation of battery manufacturing technology and manufacturing process to improve the yield and reduce production costs.
3. Pay attention to the risks brought by the rapid expansion of domestic battery production capacity. Since 2021, various power battery companies have expanded their production capacity. According to incomplete statistics, in the first quarter of 2022, there will be nearly 30 new power battery projects in China, with a planned production capacity of more than 800GWh and a total investment of more than 300 billion yuan. The upper production capacity is essentially demand-driven, especially the advantageous companies have advantageous products and are eager to consolidate their market positions. What is more worrying is the shortage of resources, vicious production and duplication of construction caused by capacity expansion. In particular, capacity expansion that is interactively bound with high local investment subsidies but obviously lacks technological advantages and market competitiveness, poses great risks to both enterprises and local governments.
4. The battery must take the lead in realizing its own greening. The current power battery industry chain is one of the main sources of carbon emissions in the entire life cycle of electric vehicles. Carbon emissions from battery production generally account for about 20% of the total emissions in the entire life cycle of vehicles. The low-carbon development of the battery industry is an inevitable trend. The EU's "New Battery Regulations" gradually builds a "carbon barrier" through the declaration, classification and quota requirements for the carbon footprint of batteries. In the future, if my country's power battery companies want to go overseas to Europe, upstream and downstream companies in the industry chain need to work together to reduce the carbon footprint of their products. Therefore, it is necessary for my country to build a low-carbon management system and action guidelines for power batteries to promote low-carbon development of the entire industrial chain of power batteries from resource extraction, material manufacturing, battery production, recycling, etc., and improve the international competitiveness of my country's industrial chain enterprises.
5. Step up the formulation of relevant standards for "battery passports", and have the right to speak internationally. In order to improve the transparency of power battery life cycle data and effectively track information such as battery content and carbon footprint, relevant European companies and organizations are planning to launch "battery passports" in recent years. If the "battery passport" is widely promoted in the future, setting standards is the key. At present, my country has a relatively complete and internationally competitive power battery industry chain, and should actively participate in and lead the formulation of relevant standards for "battery passports". On the one hand, the sooner an enterprise participates in the formulation of standards, the better it will be able to grasp the future development direction and make arrangements in advance. On the other hand, it can better promote the participation of my country's power battery industry chain enterprises in international competition and improve the international voice. At the policy level, improve the relevant standard system of carbon footprint accounting for the full life cycle of my country's power batteries as soon as possible, and promote international mutual recognition. At the industry level, it attaches great importance to the cultivation of talents related to carbon footprint inspection, strengthens international exchanges, and develops the construction of relevant data platforms. At the corporate level, strengthen the disclosure and practice of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) information.
6. Pay attention to the strategic position of upstream resources and actively deploy them. my country's power battery industry chain has obvious advantages in smelting, battery materials, battery processing and other links, but the core upstream resource reserves are limited and the external dependence is high. Among them, lithium resources and reserves account for about 6% of the world's total, but the endowment is poor, the development cost is high, and the external dependence exceeds 70%; nickel and cobalt resources only account for about 2% of the world's reserves, and the external dependence is 80% for a long time. above. In recent years, although the Chinese government and enterprises have increased the acquisition layout of overseas related mineral resources, large multinational giants in Europe and the United States have long-term indirect control of a large number of high-quality lithium, cobalt, and nickel mineral resources. Increase the cost of obtaining resources for Chinese enterprises and reduce the cost competitiveness of my country's power battery products. It is recommended to include the upstream key resources of power batteries into strategic resource considerations, increase the exploration and development of related resources, and strengthen guidance and differentiated management in resource allocation, fiscal revenue, major projects, and mining land. Vigorously support enterprises in the global deployment of lithium, nickel, cobalt and other resources, and strengthen policy support for enterprises in the acquisition of overseas scarce resources.
7. Accelerate the industrialization of power battery recycling and utilization. In 2018, my country's power batteries began to enter the peak period of decommissioning. In 2021, the amount of decommissioning will exceed 30GWh. From the perspective of resource recycling, environmental protection and economic benefits, it is imminent to speed up the reuse of key materials. At present, the EU battery regulations have put forward requirements on the content of recycled raw materials in battery active materials. By 2035, the minimum share of recycled lithium, nickel and cobalt in active materials should not be less than 10%, 12% and 20%. my country should also speed up the establishment of a management system for the utilization rate of recycled materials in the production of new batteries, which can not only enable efficient recycling of resources, but also give birth to new industries. It is estimated that the scale of power battery recycling in my country will exceed 100 billion yuan in 2030. At the same time, it is necessary to strengthen the research and development of key technologies for cascade utilization and recycling, and improve recycling economy through technological innovation; support the convenience of battery recycling in battery design and manufacturing to reduce potential safety hazards; encourage the use of existing social resources to achieve Nearest safe disposal of retired batteries. While paying attention to recycling, we must also attach great importance to the advancement of battery repair technology, which is of great significance to improving battery life.
8. Encourage innovation in battery operation models. Battery asset operation management provides a new solution to the current problems of electric vehicles, such as high purchase threshold, low value preservation rate, and difficulty in battery recycling. Through the vehicle-electricity separation model, the initial purchase cost of electric vehicles can be reduced first, and the purchase price of A-class vehicles of 50,000-100,000 will also be lower than the purchase price of fuel vehicles; secondly, the residual value rate of electric vehicles is expected to improve, and the current residual value rate is low The main reason is the technical progress of the power battery and the depreciation of the whole vehicle brought about by the decay of the battery. After the separation of the vehicle and electricity, the residual value of the whole vehicle will theoretically be the same as that of the fuel vehicle; in the end, it is beneficial to the full life cycle management of the power battery and the separation of the vehicle and electricity. In this mode, the property rights of the power battery belong to the battery asset management company. On the one hand, it can improve the service life of the battery under the management and maintenance of the professional company. and recycling.