China’s top battery maker will make cheaper next generation low cobalt batteries

China’s largest lithium battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) plans to begin producing in 2019 next-generation nickel-rich batteries, which are cheaper to make and have longer life-spans.

Cobalt stabilizes and extends the life of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Cobalt prices more than doubled in 2017 and peaked at a record high of $95,250 a tonne in March, 2018.

South Korea’s LG Chem and SK Innovation have said they are working on producing the same type of battery. The CATL NCM 811 battery has 80 percent nickel, 10 percent cobalt and 10 percent manganese.

CATL currently makes NCM 523 batteries with 50 percent nickel, 20 percent cobalt and 30 percent manganese.