Controversy – Why the new Kia Niro EV batteries come from China and not from South Korea

Controversy – Why the new Kia Niro EV batteries come from China and not from South Korea


Kia is using CATL battery cells for the very first time for the new generation Niro EV, where the manufacturer has so far used components from South Korean manufacturers for its electric vehicles. Why? Cost only.

This is a South Korean newspaper Hankook Ilbo which reports information that has so far been kept secret, but obtained from the brand manager: a 64.8 kWh battery pack of the new Kia Niro electric motor contains lithium-ion nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) produced by a Chinese equipment manufacturer . CATL where so far they have come from South Korea.

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The main reason for switching from SK Innovation (now SK On) to CATL as a mobile service provider is undoubtedly their low cost, although a source did not want to comment on this topic, considering the information to be confidential. . According to’Hankook Ilbo, Kia had previously planned to switch from SK On to LG Energy Solution, another ally, but the difference would be made to the lower CATL price not only because of the standard economy found, but also to the chemistry of the cells used. . LGES and Sk On offer NMC 811 cells, which contain large amounts of nickel to achieve high energy density, while CATL uses less sophisticated cells, which prefer cobalt, which is good for fast charging at low temperatures, but which is paid for. terms of energy density.

Still according to the newspaper, the fact of seeing Chinese cellmakers enter South Korean soil has sparked internal tensions: many customers have expressed their frustration and some even want to cancel their order. L ‘Hankook Ilbo it also expresses its concern about the cells themselves: “This is the first time CATL, which has made a name for itself with its lithium-ion-phosphate (LFP) batteries, has begun mass production of NMC car batteries. This means that quality and their safety has not yet been shown ”.

But we can see here perhaps the escalation of hostilities or a new manifestation of long-standing tensions between China and South Korea as CATL already supplies NMC batteries for, among others, BMW for iX3 and Mercedes for EQEs and EQS.