The innovation highlights how battery technology and raw material needs are still evolving and unpredictable as the world’s automakers seek to slash costs while boosting EV performance. It also shows how Chinese companies continue to pioneer those advances.
Gotion, listed in Shenzhen and with Volkswagen Group as its largest shareholder, expects its LMFP battery to cost 5 percent less than a conventional LFP battery in terms of dollars per kilowatt hour, Cheng said.
That would be as much as 20 percent to 25 percent cheaper than nickel-cobalt units.
The LMFP chemistry can replace some of the industry’s nickel-cobalt cells “with the same performance but lower costs and better safety,” Cheng said.
“I think it’s very attractive for carmakers, and I have to say a lot of companies will follow this trend.”
LMFP technology is not new, but traditionally the cells are not used in EV applications for reasons from low conductivity to high-temperature dissolution or low density. Gotion says its battery — which it calls “Astroinno” — has overcome those technical challenges.
Gotion’s manganese-added cells “will create real opportunity to compete with some NCM chemistries where standard LFP struggles to compete on energy density,” said Victoria Hugill, battery research analyst at London-based consultancy Rho Motion.
LMFP could take a 6 percent market share by 2040, likely surpassing other emerging options like sodium-ion batteries, she said.
Astroinno could be in mass production as soon as the second quarter next year, according to Cheng. It has passed safety tests and the LMFP batteries will be manufactured in two plants in China’s Anhui province.
Gotion has been leaning up overseas expansions, from planning a battery plant in Michigan state to raising a global depositary receipts offering in Switzerland last year. The company was the world’s 8th-largest battery manufacturer last year, according to SNE Research.
Astroinno joins some other significant battery innovations by Chinese companies in recent years. In 2020, BYD launched its Blade battery — an LFP unit with a sleeker shape and improved energy density. Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. is developing what it calls a condensed-state battery.
Among the advantages will be an ability for fast charging that could take just a shade more than a quarter of an hour, according to Gotion’s Cheng.
“You can have a cup of coffee and rest at the charging station, and the battery will be charged from 10 percent to 80 percent within 18 minutes using the step charging,” he said.