China to Spend $828 Million on High-Tech EV Batteries, China Daily Says

(Bloomberg) -- China is set to invest about 6 billion yuan ($828 million) to boost the development of a more powerful and advanced type of electric vehicle battery technology, China Daily reported.

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The plan was launched earlier this year and is focused on all-solid-state batteries, the media outlet reported Wednesday, citing sources it didn’t identify. The world’s biggest battery maker, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., and major automakers BYD Co. and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. are among the list of companies selected for the program, it said.

Solid-state batteries are seen as more powerful, durable, faster to charge and safer than the current generation of lithium-ion cells that dominate the EV sector. But the development of the potential game-changing battery is scientifically and technologically challenging and still years away from commercialization.

At least in the short-term, they’re likely to be limited to use in high-end vehicles due to their elevated manufacturing and raw-material costs, according to BloombergNEF.

Read More: Why an Electric Car Battery Is So Expensive, For Now

The investment comes at a sensitive time for global trade relations. China’s EVs are under the spotlight in the European Union and the US, which have accused the Asian nation of exporting excess inventory as it faces a slowdown in demand at home.

The EU is set to soon announce the results of its probe into Beijing’s subsidies for the EV sector, including whether it intends to impose tariffs on imported vehicles. China has already hinted it’s ready to retaliate immediately, signaling it would roll out duties as high as 25% on imported cars with large engines.

Meanwhile, the US has unveiled sweeping tariff hikes of its own, raising concerns its allies may follow suit.

--With assistance from Gabrielle Coppola.

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