In May 2019, NCM 811 (cathode with nickel, cobalt and manganese in a ratio of 8:1:1) battery cell deployment in passenger EV batteries (MWh deployed) was 113% higher than the total capacity deployed in April, according to Adamas Intelligence’s latest “EV Battery Capacity Monthly” report.
This increase lifts the total market share of NCM 811 (by capacity deployed) to 2% in May 2019 at the global level, and 4% for the Chinese market, from just 1% and 2% the month prior, respectively, due to the launch of a number of new EV models in China using NCM 811 cells from CATL (earlier post)
NCM (NMC) cathodes began emerging in the mid-2000s, with NMC 111 (⅓ Ni, ⅓ Mn, ⅓ Co—also abbreviated as NMC 333), bringing the first commercial success. NMC cathodes are now mainstream, being used, for example, in the BMW i3, Chevy Bolt, and new Nissan Leaf.
Increasing the nickel content in successive formulations—balanced against stability issues—has increased energy content and reduced weight—e.g., NMC 811.
While NCM 811 is making steady inroads in China, it’s also becoming clear that it will soon be widely commercialized outside the country with VW recently telling Reuters that from 2021 onward the automaker will use NCM 811 cells (and presumably also some NCM 622).
For the Chinese market, VW is optimistic about the potential for using the less-energy-dense LFP cathode chemistry because the “necessity for a long operating range is less important in China”, the company told Reuters.
By 2025, VW projects it will need 150 GWh of battery production capacity on lock-down in Europe, and an additional 150 GWh in Asia. By 2030, the company says its appetite for EV battery capacity will double in both markets.
Taking these projections into account, it’s clear that VW alone has potential to boost global NCM 811 deployment by orders of magnitude within the next two to three years and by 2025 will be churning through upwards of 100 GWh worth of NCM 811 cells per annum in Europe and untold amounts in Asia.