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[YesAuto News] What is the biggest worry about using electric vehicles, battery life, battery life or battery life… In this era of time-consuming and laborious charging, having higher battery life means grabbing the hearts of more consumers, and this obviously depends on power battery. For this reason, the major battery factories at home and abroad have racked their brains, only for the car to drive farther and farther. Recently, the domestic power battery industry giant CATL (CATL) announced that it has finally breached the 8-micron copper foil barrier in front of the three major foreign battery manufacturers, Panasonic, Samsung, and LG, and will soon produce the world’s first batch of 6-micron fully autonomous batteries. Copper foil power battery, this will increase the amount of active material nickel, cobalt and manganese, and increase the energy density of the battery by 2% under the condition that the volume of the battery remains unchanged. The most intuitive performance is the improvement of the cruising range. It is reported that the first batch of 6-micron copper foil power batteries will be used in BMW Brilliance's electric models.

Read the full text in 30 seconds:

● CATL was split from ATL Power Battery Division, the world's largest high-end mobile phone battery market share and the preferred supplier of lithium batteries for iPhone and iPad;

●The mainstream domestic car companies you can think of are mostly equipped with CATL batteries. In addition, international car companies such as BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota, Nissan and Honda have also installed “Chinese core”;

●Since 2014, CATL has successively established subsidiaries in Germany, France, the United States, Canada and Japan. The first European factory is also being selected, and overseas expansion is beginning to take shape;

●As a company with a valuation of US$20 billion, CATL is preparing to go public.

Who is the Ningde era?

When it comes to CATL, almost everyone in Ningde City, Fujian Province knows it. There is a local joke. When you take a taxi at Ningde Railway Station, the taxi driver will directly ask: Should I go to the downtown area or go to the Ningde era. What “doesn't match” with the popularity is that this is a young company. CATL, established in 2011, is still under 7 years old. But as a power and energy storage battery manufacturer, it has provided batteries for more than 300,000 new energy vehicles, with a cumulative mileage of 12.7 billion kilometers, capable of circling the earth 318,000 times, and maintaining a record of zero safety accidents.

On March 15, 2018, British time, the Financial Times' 2017 “Business Aspiration Award” was officially announced. CATL won the “Most Aspiring Emerging Market Enterprise Award”. This is the first time a Chinese company has won the award after ten years. The previous time was Huawei. Other Chinese winners include industry leaders such as Alibaba and Tencent.

When Huawei won the award in 2008, the Ningde era was not yet “born.” One of its founders, Huang Shilin, still worked at Ningde New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. (ATL). That year, he led the team to successfully develop a power with independent intellectual property rights. The battery management system (BMS) is used in all the company's electric vehicles and energy storage projects.

Speaking of ATL, this well-known company in the lithium battery industry may not be familiar to ordinary consumers. But if you have used Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi, or OPPO and other brand mobile phones and related digital products, you must have used ATL batteries; if you have also played DJI drones, congratulations once again “winning.” ATL has long occupied the number one position in the high-end mobile phone battery market and is the preferred supplier of Apple’s iPhone and iPad lithium batteries. Although the average selling price is higher than that of Samsung, LG and other companies, they have received the most orders in the world. Even Samsung, ATL's competitor, has placed many orders to ATL to supply its flagship models. In addition, according to statistics, more than 10% of the chief engineers or R&D managers of battery cell manufacturers in China are from ATL, and more than 20% of the actual controllers of battery cell equipment manufacturers are also from ATL. It can be said that ATL is the Whampoa Military Academy in the battery industry.

Since the wind of new energy had not yet fully blown, ATL did not roll out the power battery business, and only established a business unit for research work. In 2011, Huang Shilin, who saw the coming wave of new energy vehicles, decided to dismantle the ATL power battery business and independently become a power battery manufacturer—CATL. At that time, Panasonic, Samsung, and LG Chem had already made achievements in the field of power batteries. In 2008, Samsung SDI and Bosch jointly established SB Limotive, a power battery company. The company provided power battery services for the pure electric vehicle Megacity launched by BMW in 2009. Since then, the power battery market has been opened. BMW Megacity is the BMW i3 prototype; in the same year, Panasonic and Special For the first time, Sla cooperated. Tesla's first model, the Roadster, used Panasonic's 18650 lithium cobalt oxide battery; in 2009, LG Chem cooperated with South Korea's Hyundai Kia and officially entered the power battery market.

2017 Global Power Battery Enterprise Sales Ranking
enterprise country Sales (GWh)
Ningde era China 12
Matsushita Electric Japan 10
BYD China 7.2
Waterma China 5.5
LG Chem Korea 4.5
Guoxuan Hi-Tech China 3.2
Samsung SDI Korea 2.8
Beijing Guoneng China 1.9
Bick China 1.6
Funeng Technology China 1.3

However, the Ningde era as a transfer student only took 6 years to defeat major domestic and foreign manufacturers and become the dominant player in the power battery field. According to the prospectus application draft updated by CATL on March 12, 2018, CATL’s shipment volume in 2017 reached 12GWh, ranking first in the world, far higher than the second-ranked Panasonic’s 10GWh.

Who is using the Ningde era?

Behind such a high volume of shipments is not just a long list of Chinese car companies' names, but also those international big names you are familiar with. BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota, Nissan and Honda…International car companies have caught up with the Ningde era, and have extended their domestic models from the beginning to global supply. Recently, forefoot Volkswagen just announced that CATL has defeated LG, Panasonic, Samsung and other companies to formally enter its global supply chain. Then Daimler said that in the future, whether in China or the world, Mercedes-Benz will use Chinese batteries in its electric vehicles (Ningde era) product.

Speaking of, the starting point of CATL is very high, and the first partner is BMW. At the end of 2011, when the Ningde era was born, BMW Brilliance was preparing for the first high-end pure electric vehicle “Zino 1E”. Because of ATL's position in the field of lithium batteries, BMW finally chose CATL as the sole supplier of power batteries.

At that time, the CATL was still a blank paper in the power battery market. As long as the vehicle companies were willing to cooperate, they would provide samples and designs, not to mention that this time it was BMW. The opportunity came with tremendous pressure. At that time, BMW provided more than 800 pages of all-German power battery production standards. With the help of the experience and technology accumulated in ATL, and with the assistance of high-level engineers from BMW Brilliance, the Ningde era finally produced products approved by BMW.

With the successful launch of “Zinoone 1E”, CATL has become the only battery supplier of the BMW Group in the Greater China region, and has thus become the first domestic power battery company to successfully enter the supplier system of international car companies. With the help of BMW, CATL quickly gained popularity and officially began to show its talents in the field of power batteries.

Unlike BYD’s previous long-term “self-sufficiency” closed production and operation model, CATL adheres to an open supply model, while taking into account lithium iron phosphate and ternary lithium batteries. With the help of cooperation with BMW and an open attitude, CATL quickly opened up the power battery market. Behind the car companies such as BAIC New Energy, SAIC Passenger Car, Zotye Automobile, JAC, Geely, etc., all have the name of CATL. In addition, CATL has also jointly established a power battery company with SAIC Motor, and deployed intelligent networking with the popular new car company NIO. It is reported that Apple, the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer, has also joined the Ningde era and secretly joined forces in a new energy vehicle power battery project based on a non-disclosure agreement.

Car companies in the passenger car field of the Ningde era
Supporting foreign investment BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, etc.
Self-supporting BAIC New Energy, SAIC Passenger Car, Zotye Automobile, JAC, Geely Automobile, GAC Trumpchi, Dongfeng, FAW, etc.

With the establishment of the Ningde era brand, more and more domestic and foreign auto companies will be equipped with “China Core” in the future. Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a data research organization from London, UK, continues to track and analyze the battery market. Its managing director Simon Moores said: “Do international companies want to cooperate with CATL? The answer is yes-the market demand trend is obvious.” Nothing. In doubt, the reform of China's new energy business and the automobile industry has shown a strong momentum for development. Worldwide, China's lithium power capacity has become a dual business card for China's energy revolution and the upgrading of the automobile industry.

What is the global layout?

The Ningde era, which has more customers, needs to worry about production capacity. After all, there are too many porridges, and where to build factories and expand capacity becomes the key. First of all, the base camp must not be pulled down. CATL plans to build a new factory at its headquarters in Ningde, Fujian Province. The plant can increase the production capacity of CATL by 5 times. After completion, it may become the world's largest manufacturer of electric car batteries. Previously, Tesla's super battery plant in Nevada had a production capacity of approximately 35GWh. It is estimated that by 2020, CATL's power battery production capacity will reach 50GWh, which is more than the total domestic power battery output of 45GWh in 2017.

The next step is to go abroad and into the world. Recently, Ningde Times Chairman Zeng Yuqun said that the company is about to decide on the location of its European factory, which will be its first overseas factory. Germany, Hungary and Poland, or its first European plant construction site, the European plant will provide products for mainstream car companies such as BMW.

The Ningde era, with the production and manufacturing of power batteries as its main business, seems to be a labor-intensive industry. Compared with the cheaper domestic labor, building factories in Europe sounds uneconomical. However, in fact, Ningde has achieved more than 90% of automated operations, and only a few people in the wide workshop are performing real-time data monitoring. In most cases, robots are working in an orderly manner. At this time, choosing to build a factory in Europe can shorten the market distance and get closer to car companies. Europe has many car brands such as Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche, and has successively launched new energy vehicle plans; on the other hand, it can reduce corporate costs. , Including logistics costs and high-quality human labor costs.

Overseas expansion in the Ningde era has already begun to take shape. Since 2014, it has successively set up subsidiaries in Germany, France, the United States, Canada and Japan, with the business scope of R&D, production and sales of lithium batteries or power batteries. In 2017, CATL also spent 30 million euros to acquire 22% of Finland's Valmet Automotive Oy (Valmet). The two parties will work together on technical cooperation in the field of electric vehicles.

Valmet Automotive is one of the world’s largest car manufacturers, a contract manufacturer of Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, and a supplier of Porsche and Lamborghini. It has teams in Finland, Germany, and Poland. Serving local European automakers for decades, and is currently committed to further expansion in the electric vehicle market. Participation in vehicle companies and joint research and development of complete electric vehicles and related systems will enhance the industrial supporting capabilities and business scope of CATL, and may also pave the way for it to further enter the European luxury car parts industry chain.

In addition, CATL’s job advertisements in the Detroit area have appeared on LinkedIn (workplace social platform). CATL said in an email that it is meeting with several American automakers to discuss partnerships. It is possible that the Ningde era will enter the core of the American auto industry in the near future. I don’t know if Trump will tweet again if he knows.

Coincidentally, while CATL was looking for battery factories in Europe, German auto parts supply giant Bosch suddenly announced that it would abandon the production of power batteries. Previously, Bosch had a relatively long-term plan in the field of power batteries, but recently stated that the company will not produce power battery cells, but will purchase batteries and equip them with its own battery management technology to provide customers with a complete battery system.

Rolf Bulander, a member of the Bosch Group Management Committee and President of the Automotive Division, stated clearly: “The global power battery market has been occupied by five major Asian companies: CATL, Panasonic, Samsung, LG, and BYD. New technologies for power batteries continue to emerge. Facing update and iteration. Bosch will take a lot of market risks if it puts battery cells into production at this time.” Ningde Times directly built the factory in Bosch’s “hometown”, or contributed to Bosch’s “flight”.

How to develop a super unicorn?

Behind the high-growth order volume and large-scale expansion is the demand for huge money. At this time, IPO financing has become a logical matter. In November 2017, CATL issued a prospectus for the initial public offering of shares on the Growth Enterprise Market. This means that CATL may become the second new economy company that is expected to be listed on the A-share market after Foxconn.

On March 23, 2018, the Torch Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology released the “2017 China Unicorn Enterprise Development Report” and the “2017 Zhongguancun Unicorn Enterprise Development Report”. According to the list of unicorns, there are 164 companies with a valuation of more than US$1 billion, which are widely distributed in industries such as biotechnology, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, high-end manufacturing, Internet finance, Internet services, and big data. Ant Financial topped the list with a valuation of 75 billion U.S. dollars, Didi Chuxing ranked second with a valuation of 56 billion U.S. dollars, and Xiaomi ranked third with a valuation of 46 billion U.S. dollars. Ningde Times, Toutiao and Cainiao.com are tied for sixth place with a valuation of US$20 billion. CATL also has the highest valuation among the nine new energy vehicle and power battery companies that have entered the unicorn list this time, which is four times that of the “popular fried chicken” NIO.

List of 2017 Unicorns in the New Energy Field
Serial number Rank enterprise Main business

Valuation

(One hundred million U.S. dollars)

Established city
1 6 Ningde era Power Battery 200 2011 Ningde
2 18 Weimar Motors New energy vehicle 50 2015 Shanghai
3 18 NIO New energy vehicle 50 2014 Shanghai
4 twenty two BAIC New Energy New energy vehicle 42 2009 Beijing
5 32 Singularity car New energy vehicle 30 2014 Shanghai
6 54 Yinlong New Energy

New energy vehicles, power batteries

19.5 2009 Zhuhai
7 65

Orange Line Smart

(Xiaopeng Motors)

New energy vehicle 15 2014 Guangzhou
8 86 Zhidou Automobile New energy vehicle 12.6 2015 Ningbo
9 107 Space-time electric

New energy vehicles, replacement services

10 2013 Hangzhou

20 billion US dollars, about 125 billion yuan, this figure even surpasses many vehicle companies. According to the “2017 China Top 500 List of Listed Companies by Market Value” published by 21 Data News Lab, only SAIC, Geely Automobile, BYD and GAC Group have a market value exceeding this number. As a new energy auto parts company established for less than 7 years, what makes the Ningde era so “bling bling”.

The market value of China's four major listed car companies in 2017
enterprise Listing location Total market value (100 million yuan)
SAIC Shanghai 3612.53
Geely Automobile Hong Kong 2086.39
BYD Shenzhen, Hong Kong 1,682.29
GAC Group Shanghai, Hong Kong 1600.77

Undoubtedly, the first premise stems from the government's curve/lane-changing overtaking plan in the field of new energy vehicles in recent years. Based on strategic considerations, the state regards new energy vehicles as a key supporting industry and includes it as a strategic emerging industry. Under this trend, a large wave of car companies have shifted their focus to the new energy field, which has driven the development of upstream and downstream industries, especially the power battery, which is the core component of new energy vehicles.

How beautiful the outside world is, the ultimate growth depends on oneself. Since its establishment, CATL has maintained a record of zero safety incidents, which stems from the investment in technology. From 2015 to 2017, the company's R&D expenses were 280 million yuan, 1.08 billion yuan, and 1.6 billion yuan, accounting for 4.96%, 7.39%, and 8.37% of main business income, which were much higher than the proportion of listed companies year-on-year. The number of R&D personnel is also in absolute advantage, reaching 3628, accounting for 23.28% of the total number of employees, of which 119 have a doctoral degree and 850 have a master degree. It has 907 domestic patents and 17 overseas patents, covering materials, battery cell design, battery packs, battery packs, energy storage systems and other fields. As the “proclaimed” domestic lithium battery company that is most willing to invest in research and development, it is also generous to its employees. In 2017, the per capita salary was as high as 250,000 yuan.

Of course, due to various reasons, foreign battery manufacturers, especially power batteries that challenge the market such as Japan and South Korea, have difficulty entering the Chinese market for a while, accelerating the advent of the era of lithium batteries in the Ningde era. In the future, the Ningde era may be able to create an era of its own. . After all, the last Huawei that won the “Most Aspiring Emerging Market Enterprise Award” made it clear that it would not go public, but according to external estimates, if Huawei goes public, its market value should be between Apple and Samsung, that is, about US$300 billion. Between 800 billion US dollars.

Full text summary:

The Lei Jun who said “ARE U OK?” also said: “Standing on the tuyere, pigs can fly.” Under the tide of new energy vehicles, the Ningde era is like a “dark horse”. It has also become the darling of the capital market. With the strong rise of China's power batteries, it has reversed the hollowing out of parts in the traditional auto industry.

But Ali Jackma also said that the wind killed pigs in the past. China's new energy industry is still in its infancy, and a sharp drop in subsidies and lithium battery technology bottlenecks are all predictable challenges. After nearly 10 years of development, power battery companies have made great progress in terms of industrial scale, technical reserves, and capital recognition. However, with the further penetration of the entire industry chain of overseas new energy vehicles, whether the new energy vehicle industry, which has not yet fully formed a climate, has sufficient capacity to resist, still needs further observation. In any case, as a large number of Chinese companies represented by the Ningde era increase their investment in technology research and development, quality control and other fields, more and more Chinese companies will appear on the international stage. By then, it will be easy to “change lanes and overtake”. More than just a slogan.