Chinese long-range electric vehicle battery manufacturer plans IPO by 2025

Beijing WeLion New Energy Technology plans to go public as it capitalises on carmakers’ adoption of next-generation cells to tackle range anxiety.

Beijing WeLion New Energy Technology, which supplies the 1,000km range semi-solid state cell to Chinese EV start-up Nio, is targeting a 20-fold surge in revenue to 10 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) by 2025 to fuel its aspirations. The company, better known as WeLion, was valued at 15.7 billion yuan in its most recent funding round.

Solid-state batteries holds immense potential for the EV industry as they facilitate high-voltage, high-capacity cathodes that significantly enhance battery capacity and performance.

WeLion’s semi-solid state battery is being used in Nio’s all-new ES6 sport utility vehicle, becoming one of few next-generation battery makers in the world to start mass production and commercialisation.

WeLion’s battery for Nio has a 150 kilowatt hour pack, and the 1,000km range compares favourably with the Lucid Air Dream Edition R (840km) and Tesla’s Model S (640km). The cell has an energy density of 360Wh per kg, Li said. That is higher than the estimated 300Wh per kg of Tesla’s 4680 battery, according to Shinyoung Securities in Seoul.

“WeLion isn’t the first company to successfully deliver commercialised semi-solid state batteries, but its 360Wh per kg reached the highest energy density among current commercialised EV battery cells,” said Jiayan Shi, an analyst at BNEF. “Nio has a standard size for battery packs, but WeLion’s cell managed to put more energy into the same volume, and that it is a success.”

The technology is attracting interest from a wide-array of carmakers including Volkswagen, Ford Motor, Mercedes-Benz Group, Geely Automotive Holdings, and Chinese consumer electronics-maker Xiaomi, founder Li Hong said.

To meet its ambitious sales goal, WeLion is building four more battery production facilities in China to boost its annual capacity to 30GWh by 2025 from 6GWh now. As well as EVs, the batteries can be used for energy storage systems and drones.

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