China to invest $828 million in high-tech EV batteries amid trade tensions

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  • A list of major Chinese automakers is gearing up to invest in all-solid-state batteries amid EV import tariff hikes.
China gears to invest $800 mil in high-tech EV batteries while EU Commission plans to hike import tariffs

China is set to invest about 6 billion yuan ($828 million) to boost the development of a more powerful and advanced type of electric vehicle battery technology, China Daily reported.

The plan was launched earlier this year and is focused on all-solid-state batteries, the media outlet reported Wednesday, citing sources it didn’t identify. The world’s biggest battery maker, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., and major automakers BYD Co. and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. are among the list of companies selected for the program, it said.

Solid-state batteries are seen as more powerful, durable, faster to charge and safer than the current generation of lithium-ion cells that dominate the EV sector. However, the development of the potential game-changing battery is scientifically and technologically challenging and still years away from commercialisation.

At least in the short-term, they’re likely to be limited to use in high-end vehicles due to their elevated manufacturing and raw-material costs, according to BloombergNEF.

The investment comes at a sensitive time for global trade relations. China’s EVs are under the spotlight in the European Union and the US, which have accused the Asian nation of exporting excess inventory as it faces a slowdown in demand at home.

The EU is set to soon announce the results of its probe into Beijing’s subsidies for the EV sector, including whether it intends to impose tariffs on imported vehicles. China has already hinted it’s ready to retaliate immediately, signalling it would roll out duties as high as 25% on imported cars with large engines. Meanwhile, the US has unveiled sweeping tariff hikes of its own, raising concerns its allies may follow suit.

First Published Date: 30 May 2024, 07:21 AM IST

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