SK Innovation to commercialize world’s 1st NCM battery with 90% nickel

SK Innovation will become the world’s first battery maker to commercialize nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) batteries that contain 90 percent nickel, according to industry sources, The Korea Herald reports.

The South Korean battery maker will supply lithium-ion batteries that contain 90 percent nickel, 5 percent cobalt and 5 percent manganese inside cathodes to Ford F-150 electric pickup trucks set for release in 2023, they said.

“SK Innovation is ready to mass-produce NCM 9-1/2-1/2 batteries (or “Nine half half”) and is waiting for orders from automakers,” an industry source said.

Lithium-ion batteries consist of four key components: cathodes, anodes, electrolytes and separators. Cathodes determine the energy capacity of batteries. The higher the ratio of nickel inside cathodes, the higher energy density batteries can achieve, which translates to greater range for EVs.

SK Innovation’s NCM 9-1/2-1/2 batteries are expected to offer a longer driving range of 700 kilometers and a shorter charging time.

While SK Innovation will be the world’s first company to commercialize NCM batteries with 90 percent nickel, when other types of batteries are included, LG Chem is two years ahead in commercializing EV batteries that contain 90 percent nickel.

Starting next year, LG Chem will supply NCMA (nickel cobalt manganese aluminum) batteries that contain 90 percent nickel to General Motors. LG Chem is currently supplying NCM 811 batteries to Tesla Model 3 sedans manufactured in China.

Meanwhile, Samsung SDI is expected to mass-produce Gen5 batteries that contain more than 80 percent nickel and can offer a driving range over 600 kilometers starting next year.

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