The Chinese Government has pledged to spend $76.6 million on a research and development institute ‘in search of breakthroughs’ in new advanced traction batteries for new energy vehicles (NEVs).
The government appears to be intent on encouraging innovation in the sector rather than relying on buying the technology it needs, according to minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei.
“As far as we know, all the other new energy vehicle manufacturers, except BYD, are purchasing, not making, batteries,” said Miao.
The investment pledge comes after the State Council released guidance on encouraging the development of the NEV industry, something that has roughly trebled in size since 2014, say data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
The association claims more than 331,000 units were sold last year.
Under the new rules, traction battery manufacturers will receive incentives when their products meet the required performance standards and sales volumes reach a certain level.
Contemporary Amperex Technology is one of China’s leading traction battery manufacturers.
Chairman Huang Shilin said the battery industry had developed remarkably quickly in China but it needed to be rationalised, warning that if a serious incident occurred it could be a major setback for China’s industry.
The Industry and Information Technology Ministry set the national threshold output at 200 Wh/kg for passenger car batteries in 2015, and will raise it to 300 Wh/kg by 2020.