NIO adds solid-state pack to user manuals, 930 km range imminent

Two and a half years after first sharing plans to implement a 150 kWh solid-state battery pack in its EVs, NIO appears poised to finally do just that. The automaker’s digital user manuals now feature specifications of the solid-state pack, supplied by WeLion – debuting on the upcoming ES6 SUV. The additional supports recent promises from NIO’s chief that customers in China will be able to select the energy-dense pack as early as this month.

During its 2020 NIO Day event, held in January of 2021, Chinese EV automaker NIO unveiled a 150 kWh pack, featuring solid-state battery cells configured to the same design of its current lithium-ion cells. At the time, the company was promising its new pack could deliver 1,000 km (620 miles) of range on a single charge.

Like many solid-state technologies we’ve covered in recent years, full-scaled commercialization always feels two years away. While many battery developers have introduced and even showcased less volatile and more energy-dense technology that easily bests lithium-ion chemistry, few have been able to scale to a level that offers cost parity with the current cell standard.

NIO itself has faced several delays in implementing the new pack in its EVs, to the point that we had sort of brushed it off altogether. That changed this past May when the automaker made a filing with China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (CMIIT), noting intentions to sell three existing EV models with expanded battery capabilities provided by solid-state battery developer WeLion.

During the launch of NIO’s ES6 at the end of May, we learned that the new SUV will be the first of those three EVs to offer the 150 kWh solid-state pack as an option to customers. Following new details in its customer manual, we’ve learned the exact specifications of this new pack, offering further hope we may truly see it toll out in July.

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  • Nio solid state
  • Nio solid state

NIO’s solid-state pack is over 40% more energy dense

According to details in NIO’s EV user manuals pointed out by CnEVPostthe new 150 kWh solid-state pack is slightly heavier but significantly more energy dense than the 100 kWh lithium-ion pack from CATL currently being offered to customers.

For example, NIO’s solid-state pack weighs 575 kg (1,268 lbs), 20 kg (44 lbs or 3.6%) heavier than the 100 kWh packs (555 kg). Additionally, the new pack’s energy density is 261 Wh/kg, 44.44% higher than the 180 Wh/kg the 100 kWh lithium-ion pack is offering.

Despite its higher density, the 150 kWh pack has the same length, width, and height of its 100 kWh predecessor (2,062 mm, 1,539 mm and 185.6 mm, respectively), helping the transition into actual production vehicle proceed more smoothly.

NIO’s solid-state battery manufacturer WeLion shared in a July 1 press release that it had officially begun delivering the 150 kWh packs to the EV automaker on June 30 and confirmed the two companies signed an annual order – although it did not disclose its size.

While solid-states are being planned for at least three NIO EVs, it appears those customers who reserved an ES6 (or EL6 in the EU) may be able to take advantage of the better range first. NIO chairperson and CEO has shared the ES6 will be able to garner 930 km (577 miles) of range on a single charge with the 150 kWh pack.

That’s not 1,000 km as promised, but SUVs are less aerodynamic than sedans, so we’d expect another NIO EV like the ET5, for instance, to hit the centennial mark in kilometers. We will keep an eye out to see when the 150 kWh truly becomes selectable to NIO customers and are interested to see which model(s) will see it delivered first.

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