But negotiation had hit a roadblock over price
Hyundai Motor had up to recently considered using batteries made by China’s CATL in all its vehicle models, TheElec has learned.
The pair had discussed replacing lead-acid batteries used in both gas-run and electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries, sources said.
They have even agreed on the size and specification of the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery to be used, the sources said. But the pair failed to reach an agreement due to disagreements over unit prices, they added.
CATL had proposed supplying 4680 cylinder LFP batteries. Though the diameter was to remain 46mm, the length was proposed to be over 100mm to meet the capacity of lead-acid batteries.
This would have worked by grouping four 3.2V cells into one module. This would have been half the volume and weight of lead-acid batteries, meaning the car would be lighter and increased full efficiency.
All existing vehicles use lead-acid batteries. In electric vehicles, such as Tesla’s Model 3 and Hyundai Motor’s Ioniq 5, the batteries are used together with lithium-ion batteries for cost and safety reasons __ they can provide the vehicle with minimum electricity when the main batteries are zapped.
Small components used to operate the door lock or sunroof are optimized for 12V batteries and these are lead-acid. Components such as inverters also use the battery type.
Hyundai Motor had been reviewing the best way to replace lead-acid batteries in its vehicles.
Its negotiation with CATL could continue as lead-acid batteries are an environmental hazard and the South Korean auto-giant may have to replace them eventually.
Europe is working on a law to prevent lead-acid batteries from being used in new vehicles in 2030.