BAK Battery: Pacemaker of 18650 Cell Era to Seize the 21700 Market Opportunities

2018-05-28| Source:

There is no doubt that lithium batteries have become one of the mainstream technologies in the battery industry. As the most mature product in cylindrical lithium batteries, the 18650 has been widely applied in the areas of 3C lithium batteries and power batteries. However, with the new subsidy policies of 2018 biased towards the new energy vehicles with an extended cruising range and high energy density, and expansion of market demand for the power batteries, following the announcement of large-scale application of 21700 batteries by Tesla and Panasonic, domestic market-sensitive battery companies are also turning their attention to 21700 batteries with higher energy density.

Dr. Luo Zhaojun, Chief Engineer of BAK Battery Compared with the traditional 18650 Battery, the 21700 Battery has the edges of high monomer energy density, low battery system cost, light weight, easy automated production, and etc., and the next “tornado” of market demand for the 21700 is sweeping over. However, will the 18650 be replaced by the 21700? According to the Chief Engineer of BAK Battery Co., Ltd. (referred as BAK for short), Luo Zhaojun, there will be a balance between cost and performance due to different needs of the end products; therefore, the 18650 will be marketable to some extent, and since it will take a while for the 21700 to be of good merchantable quality like the 18650, the 18650 and 21700 batteries will enjoy their coexistence and co-prosperity together.


To Lead the 18650 Cell Era

BAK Battery was founded in Shenzhen in 2001 and has mature technology, production and market accumulation in the field of lithium battery. In 2004, BAK jointly developed the world’s first power battery with the US A123 successfully. In 2006, BAK’s earliest generation of battery products produced by the NMC 18650 automated production line came out. Dr. Luo Zhaojun said that BAK owns two manufacturing bases which are Shenzhen BAK Power and Zhengzhou BAK Battery. The products mainly involve battery cells, modules, packages and etc., which are widely applied in passenger vehicles, buses, logistics vehicles, special-purpose vehicles and so on. In 2017, BAK achieved an installed capacity of 1.7GWh, and loaded accumulatively 110,000 new energy vehicles, ranking the top of the NMC battery. Also, BAK had established profound cooperation with traditional vehicle enterprises such as FAW, Dongfeng, Chery and JAC, as well as new vehicle manufacturers like YUDO, Singulato and Leapmotor.


“Regardless of how the policy or market varies, technical research & development is always the foothold of the enterprise.” Dr. Luo Zhaojun said that as the leading power battery enterprise in the industry, BAK always focuses on the technological research and development of products, and constantly pursues continuous improvement of safety and energy density. Recently at the CIBF exhibition, BAK has demonstrated the newly released 18650-3.0Ah high energy cell, which indicates that the monomer energy density of the domestically made 18650 battery cell has reached an internationally leading level. “The BAK 18650-3.0Ah high-energy cell products adopted the advanced full automated production line, which has been mass-produced in the BAK Industrial Park in Zhongmou, Zhengzhou, with a production capacity of 6.5GWh and a daily output of 2 million units. And it has been put into market application recently.” said Dr. Luo Zhaojun.

With regard to energy density, the BAK 3.0 high energy cell has an energy density of nearly 250Wh/kg through the introduction of silicon cathode materials, high nickel anode materials and specially developed electrolytes, which can enable new energy vehicles to achieve an extra-long cruising range of 500 kilometers.


In terms of charging, the charging time has been greatly shortened. In slow charging mode, it takes 8-10 hours to be fully charged, while in fast charging mode, it only takes 48 minutes to be charged more than 80% full; and in extreme emergency mode, charging for 10 minutes enables 60 kilometers’ drive.


As for safety, BAK strictly monitors the quality of battery cells from aspects of structural design, top safety valves, anode & cathode materials and production processes. And after three years of chemical design freezing and process design freezing, the directional blasting technique of high-capacity single cell has been successfully solved. Therefore, the “Fail-Safe” concept of a single cell failure in a finely packed package has been implemented.


Seize the 21700 Market Opportunities

 According to the planning requirements of the “China’s Automotive Industry Medium- and Long-Term Development Plan”, in 2020, the monomer energy density of the power battery will exceed 300Wh/kg and the energy density of the power battery system will reach 260Wh/kg; in 2025, the energy density of the power battery system will reach 350Wh/kg. The pursuit of high-energy density in power batteries has become an irreversible trend, so numerous battery enterprises have realized it and will turn their attention to the layout of the 21700 battery.

Besides BAK, LiShen Battery, Lion Technology, Far East Foster, Tianpeng Power, EVE Battery, Chuangming New Energy, Hengdian DMEGC, Haisida, Anhui Taineng and other mainstream battery enterprises also started to lay out the 21700 battery. A “game” focusing on the 21700 battery will be kicked off, and the enterprises that emphasize on product quality and research & development will win eventually.


Dr. Luo Zhaojun revealed that the BAK 21700 battery cells have completed multiple offline tests, and a small batch of samples of the 4.8Ah 21700 cylindrical batteries have just been tested in the trials. It is expected to achieve mass production in the fourth quarter this year, and we plan to launch 5.0Ah products by the end of the year.

And how to ensure safety while raising energy density is a critical issue that bothers many battery manufacturers. Dr. Luo Zhaojun considers that for lithium batteries, safety ranks No. 1, and then can other value be added to this prerequisite. The company’s products will only be launched in the market in batches after their safety performance has been strictly ensured.


Recently, in addition to the local battery companies in the whitelist (the first batch) in the automobile power battery and hydrogen fuel cell industry, three Korean companies of the Samsung Huanxin (Xi’an) Power Battery Co., Ltd., Nanjing LG Chemical New Energy Battery Co., Ltd. and Beijing Electronic Holding & SK Technology Co. Ltd. also showed up. Moreover, the fact that Korean power battery enterprises reassumed investment in China is regarded as a bloody battle of power battery. In the opinion of Dr. Luo Zhaojun, the market ultimately depends on product properties. Although some oversea products are better in consistency, they may not exceed some domestic high-quality enterprises in the service performance of vehicle power. No matter what kind of enterprise enters the power battery market, the most important thing is to ensure certain technical accumulation, and with the edge of technology, the development of innovative products can remain invincible. At present, the 18650 battery cells of BAK have prominent advantages compared with the products made by Japan or South Korea in terms of parameters such as capacity and cycling life.


“BAK Battery has always been devoted to lead China’s lithium batteries into a high energy cell era, and persists in adapting to the market taking the parallel route of the 18650 & 21700.” Luo Zhaojun revealed that the 3.2Ah 18650 battery cells, the 4.5Ah & 4.8Ah 21700 battery cells and the 48Ah & 50Ah square batteries will all be released this year.

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