JAKARTA -- Chinese electric-vehicle battery material provider CNGR Advanced Material Co. is boosting output of a primary material to seize market share despite a bad year for the industry.
The move comes as the EV battery market faces challenges with high prices for raw material nickel and weaker sales for the EV industry in China, the world's biggest EV battery producer.
"This year is a tough year, a suffering year for the EV market, for the whole supply chain. That's why we want to expand ... so we can lower the cost," CNGR's assistant manager, Xu Jie, told a nickel conference in Jakarta on Sept. 12.
CNGR is planning to almost double its capacity to 126,000 tons of EV battery precursor this year from 64,000 tons in 2018, and to 160,000 tons in 2020, Xu told the Asian Nickel conference.
CNGR's precursor is a mixture of chemicals used to produce batteries for the EV sector. CNGR said it was the second-biggest precursor producer last year in China with 16 percent of the market, behind GEM with 23 percent market share.
"If we can provide high quality and cheaper products to downstream customers so that they can make huge order, that will keep us surviving," he said.
The number of new energy vehicles sold fell for the second month in a row in August, after jumping almost 62 percent last year, after China cut NEV subsidies, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed.
NEVs include plug-in hybrids, battery-only electric vehicles and those powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
NEV sales, however, are expected to increase this year, albeit at a slower pace than in 2018, the association said.
"We still think and have a good faith in the nickel trend," Xu said, expecting nickel consumption in the battery sector to increase to 12 percent of global nickel usage in 2025, from 4 percent as of last year.