After two and a half years, NIO is finally incorporating a 150 kWh solid-state battery pack into its electric vehicles (EVs). The automaker has updated its digital user manuals to include specifications for the solid-state pack, which will debut in the upcoming ES6 SUV. NIO’s CEO has recently confirmed that Chinese customers will be able to choose the energy-dense pack starting this month.
In its 2020 NIO Day event held in January 2021, NIO unveiled a 150 kWh pack with solid-state battery cells that followed the same design as its current lithium-ion cells. The company claimed that the new pack could provide a range of 1,000 km (620 miles) on a single charge.
Although many battery developers have introduced solid-state technologies with better energy density and stability compared to lithium-ion chemistry, commercialization has often been delayed due to the inability to achieve cost parity. NIO also faced delays in implementing the new pack in its EVs. However, the automaker made a filing with China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (CMIIT) in May, indicating its intention to sell existing EV models with expanded battery capabilities provided by solid-state battery developer WeLion.
The launch of NIO’s ES6 in May revealed that the SUV will be the first to offer the 150 kWh solid-state pack as an option to customers. Details in the user manuals provide further insight into the specifications of the new pack, increasing hope that it will become available in July.
According to NIO’s user manuals, the 150 kWh solid-state pack is slightly heavier than the 100 kWh lithium-ion pack from CATL that is currently offered to customers. However, it is significantly more energy dense. The solid-state pack weighs 575 kg (1,268 lbs) compared to the 555 kg (1,224 lbs) of the lithium-ion pack. Its energy density is 261 Wh/kg, which is 44.44% higher than the 180 Wh/kg of the lithium-ion pack.
Despite the higher density, the 150 kWh pack has the same dimensions as its predecessor (2,062 mm in length, 1,539 mm in width, and 185.6 mm in height), facilitating its integration into production vehicles.
WeLion, the solid-state battery manufacturer for NIO, announced in a press release on July 1 that it had started delivering the 150 kWh packs to the EV automaker on June 30. The two companies have signed an annual order, although the size of the order was not disclosed.
While solid-state batteries will be available for at least three NIO EV models, customers who reserved an ES6 (or EL6 in the EU) are likely to be the first to benefit from the increased range. NIO’s CEO stated that the ES6 will offer a range of 930 km (577 miles) on a single charge with the 150 kWh pack.
Although it falls short of the promised 1,000 km range, it is important to note that SUVs are generally less aerodynamic than sedans. Therefore, we can expect another NIO EV, such as the ET5, to potentially achieve the 1,000 km mark. It remains to be seen which NIO model(s) will receive the 150 kWh pack first and when it will be available for selection by customers.