Analyses
15 fév 24

China just changed the Solid State level playing field

The transition to solid-state batteries represents more than just a technological advancement; it signifies a fundamental shift in battery technology; in simple words, (regular) BEVs and Solid State BEVs are different products. This transformation suggests that current leaders in the EV market, predominantly Chinese companies, will need to reaffirm their positions at the forefront, while also presenting an opportunity for other players to challenge their dominance.

No complacency

China is taking solid state seriously: eager to maintain global leadership, the Chinese government initiated the creation of the China All-Solid-State Battery Collaborative Innovation Platform (CASIP). This consortium serves as a nexus, bringing together governmental bodies, academic institutions, and industry titans such as CATL and BYD.

Driven by the imperative to maintain its edge in automotive technology, China is leveraging cutting-edge tools like artificial intelligence to accelerate research and development in solid-state batteries. Ouyang Minggao, professor at Tsinghua University specializing in automotive technologies, underscored the urgency of this initiative during the consortium's inauguration ceremony. He warned against complacency, recognizing the disruptive potential of solid-state batteries to reshape the automotive landscape.

Unique collaboration

CASIP's mandate encompasses a spectrum of activities, including fundamental research, technological advancements, and collaborative efforts to integrate solid-state batteries into EVs. The ultimate goal is to establish a robust global supply chain with Chinese companies at its core. Notably, major players in the battery industry, including CATL, BYD, CALB, EVE Energy, and Gotion High-tech, have rallied behind this initiative, underscoring China's formidable ability in assembling an "all-star" lineup.

What sets China's approach apart is its capacity to rally rivals towards a common goal. Despite fierce competition in conventional lithium-iron phosphate batteries, participants like CATL and BYD have set aside their differences to pursue the shared vision of solid-state battery supremacy.

Competition and Expectations

While Japan has traditionally led the charge in solid-state battery research, China's concerted efforts could tip the scales in its favor. Toyota, a frontrunner in this domain, boasts a substantial patent portfolio, significantly bigger than China’s. However, China's dominance in existing automotive battery technology coupled with its relentless pursuit of innovation signals a formidable challenge to Japan's incumbency.

The timeline for commercialization remains a subject of speculation, with Toyota eyeing 2027-2028 for mass production of EVs equipped with solid-state batteries. The Chinese stakeholders are optimistic about a shorter timeline thanks to advancements in AI-driven research and development.

Conclusion

As the global car market continues to embrace electrification, the race for solid-state battery supremacy is extremely. China's comprehensive initiative signifies a shift in its industrial strategy, with implications for the entire sector. Whether this audacious gambit pays off remains to be seen, but one thing is certain – the battle for dominance in the solid-state battery era has only just begun.

Authored by: Yves Helven