There are still about two months before the implementation of the new energy vehicle subsidy policy in 2018. The early decline of the new energy vehicle subsidy policy also marks the end of the era of inclusive subsidy policies. In general, it has become increasingly difficult for auto companies to obtain subsidies for the most high-end new energy vehicles, and the impact of subsidies on the development of the new energy vehicle industry is gradually being weakened.
At the current stage, the new energy vehicle subsidy policy has further increased the energy density requirements of the batteries assembled in the vehicle. Especially in terms of pure electric passenger cars, the current energy density threshold of 160Wh/kg has become the biggest obstacle for car companies to get the highest subsidy. As an important component of new energy vehicles, power batteries account for a large proportion of the cost of new energy vehicles, and the energy density indicators required for subsidies are one of the most direct core elements of power batteries. While car companies are transferring cost pressures to battery companies, they also put forward higher requirements for battery companies' products. The pressure on battery companies can be imagined.
Statistics from the Research Department of the Power Battery Application Branch show that there were more than 90 power battery companies supplying car companies in 2017, while only more than 30 power battery companies were supplied in the first two months of 2018. Battery China.com believes that the reduction in the supply of battery companies is due to the fierce competition in the battery industry and a longer payment cycle. Many power battery companies have temporarily withdrawn from the power battery market; on the other hand, battery companies have adapted to car companies. Adjustment, forced to adjust the production plan, at this stage there is a certain capacity vacuum period.
According to industry insiders, the current profit margin of the power battery industry is low, and the profit margin of the power battery market segment tends to be closer to the traditional manufacturing industry. It is very likely to remain at about 10% in the future. The power battery industry has higher investment and lower The return has caused some battery companies to transform into segmented business segments with higher profit margins.
Battery China.com believes that under the huge pressure of the industry, battery companies have become more rational in their choices. In recent years, the rise of the power battery market has caused tremendous changes in the original battery industry structure. Under the impact of the rise of the power battery market, battery companies that were originally entrenched in the market segment have made great adjustments in their business, and new development opportunities have appeared in some lithium battery market segments. In the face of the current market trend of "losing money and earning praise" in the power battery market, temporarily slowing down the power battery business is a wise choice for some companies.
According to Battery China.com, in order to cope with the impact of the increase in energy density of the new energy vehicle subsidy policy, battery companies are actively taking countermeasures from technological innovation and the application of new materials, and expanding other cost reduction channels. Judging from the current countermeasures of battery companies, there are roughly two methods: one is to replace the material system of the battery cell, using NCM811/622 or NCA materials to increase the energy density of the battery; the other is based on the material of the original battery cell Go up the high-voltage route to increase the charge capacity of the battery cell, thereby increasing the energy density of the battery.
According to industry insiders, at this stage, which technical solution the battery company chooses is mainly linked to the company's original battery cell production process. At present, companies that take the technical route of cylindrical batteries and soft-pack batteries tend to replace cell materials; while companies that take the technical route of square batteries prefer to take the high-voltage route. The production process of cylindrical batteries is relatively mature and stable. After replacing materials, cylindrical batteries are easier to achieve mass production of batteries than square, soft-packed batteries, and the product quality is more guaranteed. After replacing the material system of soft-pack batteries, it has an advantage in specific energy. Domestic soft-pack batteries can reach 300Wh/kg, and soft-pack batteries with 250-280Wh/kg will soon usher in mass production. Soft-pack batteries will be replaced. The material system benefits more obviously. The square batteries have unique advantages that cylindrical batteries and soft-pack batteries do not have in the group. Generally, cylindrical batteries and soft-pack batteries need to add more structural parts to the group, which makes the single Cylindrical and soft-packed batteries with higher bulk energy density are slightly lower in group efficiency than prismatic batteries. Therefore, at this stage, prismatic battery companies do not need to urgently pursue higher battery cell specific energy, so they can choose more reliable voltage-raising solution.
At the same time, some people in the industry also expressed their concerns about Battery China.com. Although the new energy vehicle subsidy policy requires an increase in energy density, the purpose is to increase the subsidy threshold, decoupling some low-end models and the most high-end subsidies, and refine new energy. The automobile market helps the industry develop, but it still brings pressure and uncontrollable operational risks to enterprises. For battery companies, adjusting the R&D plan to catch up with the policy red line has become a hard indicator for the survival of the company. In the short term, the entire industry is developing toward high-energy batteries, which will cause a linear increase in uncontrollable risks for battery companies. Judging from the current market reaction, most battery companies launched new battery products in December last year that cannot meet the high-end subsidy red line of 160Wh/kg. These new products will soon lose market competitiveness, and companies must respond to 2019 from now. Annual subsidy policy. In this way, the research and development cycle left to battery companies may be less than one year. On the other hand, the feedback cycle of battery products installed on the car in 2018 may be shorter, which will cause future products to basically not absorb product feedback under working conditions. Some battery cell design problems may be several generations later. It is exposed, and once such a problem occurs, it will be fatal for battery companies. And such a state of research and development is ubiquitous in current battery companies, forming an alternative "technical generation".
We believe that industrial development needs to follow logic and need to be cautious and rational. At the same time, the adjustment of subsidy policy should be more continuable, and battery companies should be informed in advance of the direction of adjustment, so that battery companies' technical adjustments are more directional, instead of letting companies "catch the wind and catch the shadow" and make targeted technical adjustments after the policy is introduced. In general, the power battery industry has made considerable progress, but for long-term and healthy development, it is necessary to set aside time for battery companies and set an advance.