Automotive battery research and development direction and prospects

Automotive battery research and development direction and prospects

In the development strategy of new energy vehicles, various countries and regions in the world have made different choices based on their own assessments, and adopted different support strategies for the development and promotion of related battery technologies. Judging from the current overall situation, Japan and Europe and the United States mainly focus on lithium batteries and fuel cells, while China has taken into account the advantages of resources and the maturity of the technology, in the recently released policies, more emphasis is placed on promoting nickel-metal hydride batteries.

Nickel-metal hydride batteries have become the focus of policy support in China at this stage

In the "New Energy Vehicle Manufacturing Enterprise and Product Access Management Rules" issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on June 25, according to the maturity of new energy vehicle vehicles, systems and key assembly technologies, the degree of perfection of national and industry standards, and the degree of industrialization The difference is divided into three different technical stages of the starting stage, development stage, and maturity stage, and classified management.

According to national regulations, the products in the initial stage can only be produced in small batches, and only in the approved area, scope, time limit and conditions for demonstration operation, and the real-time monitoring of the operating status of all products; the production of products in the development period is allowed for mass production , Can only be sold and used in the approved area, scope, period and conditions, and real-time monitoring of the operating status of at least 20% of the products sold; management of "vehicle production enterprises and product announcements" for mature products and conventional automotive products In the same way, it is the same as conventional automobile products in sales and use.

This means that in China, before December 31, 2010, hybrid and electric vehicles equipped with lithium batteries will be limited to sales and use areas, while hybrid and electric vehicles using nickel-metal hydride batteries can be sold and used nationwide.

Experts believe that the main reason why the country now shifts its development focus from lithium batteries to nickel-metal hydride batteries is that nickel-metal hydride batteries are more mature than lithium batteries and have more mineral resources. In the future, new energy vehicles can be more easily commercialized stage. "NiMH-Lithium-Fuel Cell" Industrialization Path

Among the three commonly used vehicle-mounted batteries, lead-acid batteries have long since withdrawn from mainstream applications due to serious environmental pollution. Although nickel-metal hydride batteries are currently the mainstream of commercialization, the laboratory data of the main indicators are lower than that of lithium batteries, and theoretically basic There is no room for improvement; despite the superior performance of lithium batteries, the safety cannot be guaranteed, and the relatively high cost also hinders its commercial use.

Experts predict that new energy vehicles will develop towards the industrialization path of "nickel-metal hydride-lithium battery-fuel cell". From the perspective of development trends and speeds, only nickel-hydrogen power batteries can achieve performance in the short term. Because nickel-metal hydride battery technology is the most mature, it will still be the mainstream of new energy vehicles in the next three years. Hydrogen fuel cells are three-thirds of the world, and will be gradually replaced by lithium batteries and fuel cells in five years. Battery giants Panasonic and Sanyo also believe that lithium-ion power batteries cannot replace nickel-hydrogen power batteries within 2 to 3 years. The main reason is that nickel-hydrogen power batteries are cheap and safe and have reached large-scale production. Lithium batteries still need to continue to tackle key issues, such as safety, so commercialization will take time.

According to Japan ’s Fuji economic analysis, the mainstream status of nickel-metal hydride batteries will continue until 2011, but lithium batteries will gradually erode the market share of nickel-metal hydride batteries after 2011. The agency estimates the global market of nickel-metal hydride rechargeable batteries for vehicles in 2009 The scale will increase by 23.7% over the previous year, reaching 92 billion yen, but the market size of in-vehicle nickel-metal hydride rechargeable batteries will be reduced to 55 billion yen in 2015.

Market demand can bring 2-3 years of rapid growth for nickel-metal hydride batteries

The maturity of nickel-metal hydride battery in technology and industry chain determines that it will coexist with lithium battery for a certain period of time. The appearance of lithium iron phosphate cathode material has made lithium battery have advantages in performance and cost, but stable mass production capacity The insufficiency and lack of actual operation inspection still make some new energy vehicle manufacturers discouraged; in contrast, nickel-metal hydride battery has gone through many years of actual combat, and the technology and industrial chain are quite perfect, which can form a complete vehicle in a short time. Stable supporting capacity, so it can still be widely used in new energy vehicles within a certain period.

According to industry estimates, the nickel-hydrogen battery market is still expected to achieve rapid growth in 2-3 years. In the next 2-3 years, the "Ten cities and 1,000 vehicles" plan, the gradual popularization of hybrid vehicles, export to overseas markets and other factors will be nickel The market demand for hydrogen-powered batteries has brought strong growth, and when nickel-metal hydride batteries and lithium batteries are still indistinguishable, nickel-metal hydride batteries will usher in a short period of rapid growth.

Among them, the “Ten Cities and Thousands of Vehicles” plan that China has launched will bring the first batch of market demand for nickel-metal hydride battery. It is estimated that about 3,200-4,000 new energy vehicles (including passenger cars and passenger cars) will use domestically produced nickel-metal hydride batteries in the "Ten cities and 1,000 vehicles" plan, bringing a total of about 35,000 to 44,000 in three years. The demand for kWh nickel-metal hydride battery.

Taken together, after weakening domestic and export demand, nickel-hydrogen power batteries will gradually be replaced by lithium batteries after 2012.

Corporate R & D keeps pace with policy

Among China's automotive battery manufacturers, most of them have nickel-metal hydride battery production capacity, including Chunlan Group, Keliyuan, Zhongju High-tech, Hunan Shenzhou, and Kane, among which Chunlan Group is a domestic HEV nickel-hydrogen battery. The leader in power battery technology, the market share is in a leading position. Zhongju High-tech and Hunan Shenzhou have also possessed a certain technical foundation and market position.

As for lithium batteries, most domestic manufacturers do not have the capacity for large-scale mass production, but the relevant production planning is already under implementation and it is expected that mass production will not be possible until 2010.

Experts believe that with the rapid technological advancement, in addition to promoting the industrialization of nickel-metal hydride batteries, China's automobile companies and related battery companies should take a longer-term view and invest manpower and material resources in the research and development of power lithium batteries, and maintain fuel cells. Technology follow-up to prepare for the broader new energy vehicle market.

Although lithium-ion power batteries are difficult to replace nickel-metal hydride batteries in 2-3 years, it cannot be ignored that lithium batteries will replace nickel-metal hydride batteries in the future and become the mainstream of new energy vehicles. From a global perspective, Japan is currently the most advanced country in the research and application of new energy vehicles and power batteries in the world. At present, major Japanese automobile and battery companies have invested in the construction of vehicle lithium-ion power battery production lines, which will be put into production in 2010-2011 . Fuji Economics of Japan believes that lithium-ion batteries will gradually replace nickel-metal hydride batteries in 2011. Lithium-ion batteries are indisputable as the mainstream technology route in the future.

Today, in addition to shifting its focus to lithium batteries, Japan's development and use of new energy vehicles, especially in the development and promotion of fuel cell vehicles, has greatly exceeded China's domestic expectations. In the past few years, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan has set a timetable for the development and promotion of fuel cell vehicles. Its strategic goals are: by 2010, the number of fuel cell vehicles used in Japan will reach 50,000; by 2020, it will reach 5 million; by 2030 In 2014, fuel cell vehicles will be popularized.

For the three key components of new energy vehicles, batteries, motors, and electronic controls, the weakest link of domestic enterprises is batteries. Battery performance, reliability, and product functions are still being explored, and are far from mass production. In fact, there is currently a battery bottleneck in the entire Chinese auto industry.

The industry believes that, whether it is a nickel-metal hydride battery or a lithium-ion battery, to win the market, it must have a high cost performance. The low-cost development of the entire vehicle and key components should be considered from the time of design. At present, domestic companies engaged in the research and development of automotive power batteries basically do not have the background and experience in the production of automotive parts. These companies' product concepts, development processes, production process design and even cost calculation methods for automotive batteries are inconsistent with the automotive industry, and Differs greatly. In addition, most of the employees in the automotive power battery industry come from the traditional battery industry and lack understanding of automobiles. To develop a vehicle power battery that is suitable for the use environment of vehicle power batteries and has excellent performance, it is necessary to know more professional skills related to vehicles. Therefore, automotive battery companies and automotive companies should establish closer cooperation.

So, how to strengthen cooperation and improve the cost performance of vehicle power batteries? Experts believe that, first of all, automotive power battery companies should seek technological breakthroughs, solve the reliability of batteries in principle, and increase the service life of batteries, reduce battery wear and heat. Secondly, at the application level, automotive power battery companies should provide system solutions, strengthen communication and coordination with vehicle companies, and change from providing battery cells to providing battery packs, including battery grouping, cooling, protection, etc., to integrate Provide products to downstream enterprises in the form of packages. Third, vehicle power battery companies should not only provide products to downstream companies, but also provide services to downstream companies, provide battery maintenance and repair methods and methods for downstream companies and end users, and increase the service life of batteries. Fourth, vehicle power battery companies should make full use of the opportunity of the “ten cities and thousands of vehicles” pilot to raise the level of battery production technology in order to improve the consistency of the battery, achieve scale production, and reduce production costs. Fifth, at this stage, automotive battery companies should develop battery recycling technology and provide battery recycling services. Because the residual value of the battery is higher, the battery recycling can further reduce the user's cost of use.

Hu Maoyuan, chairman of SAIC Group, has recently stated on various occasions that car companies can conduct joint R & D. Among them, the joint R & D that Hu Maoyuan most hopes to achieve is the "power battery for electric vehicles". In fact, SAIC's battery cooperation is already underway. A person from SAIC's New Energy Vehicle Division revealed that cooperation with foreign companies and domestic battery factories has already begun, "cooperation with OEMs is not ruled out."

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