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Promoting quality and innovation: China’s push for technological advancement in electric car battery manufacturing

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has released a draft proposal urging electric car battery manufacturers to prioritize technological innovation over capacity expansion. Emphasizing the importance of product quality and environmental standards, the proposal encourages lithium battery makers to enhance quality, reduce production costs, and allocate at least 3 percent of revenue annually towards research and process improvement.

According to the draft, companies can seek production expansion only if their capacity usage rate exceeds 50 percent. They are also encouraged to obtain qualifications as independent research institutes or high-tech enterprises at the provincial level or above. Green factory initiatives and pilot platforms, either independently or through joint ventures, are encouraged, with a focus on developing products with technological invention patents.

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The proposal also raises technical standards for lithium batteries, specifying requirements for energy density and cycle life. Consumer-grade lithium battery cells are expected to meet energy density and cycle life thresholds, while large-scale battery cells must achieve specified energy density levels. Additionally, performance standards for electrode and separator materials have been strengthened.

Despite a 25 percent surge in China’s lithium battery production last year, reaching over 940 GWh, the market still faces a shortage of high-end, high-quality batteries. This imbalance, with an excess of low-end batteries, has intensified competition, according to industry insiders.

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