NMC 811 is a cathode composition with 80% nickel, 10% manganese, and 10% cobalt. It’s basically an improvement of what’s on the market already, rather than a distinct, novel chemistry.
NMC (Ni-Mn-Co) cathodes with different Ni-Mn-Co compositions have been around for almost 20 years now, with many of the key publications and patents emerging already in the mid-2000s(1). Following the initial commercial success of NMC 111 (⅓ Ni, ⅓ Mn, ⅓ Co – also abbreviated as NMC 333), NMC cathodes have become mainstream, being used in the BMW i3, Chevy Bolt, or new Nissan Leaf (on the grid side, it’s the Tesla Powerwall).
Industry has been improving NMC technology by steadily increasing the nickel content in each cathode generation (e.g. NMC 433, NMC 532, or the most recent NMC 622). The cells have higher capacity and lower weight, which means the battery packs store more energy and have better driving range. In fact, you don’t need to search too long to find a Ni-rich chemistry similar to NMC 811 – it is NCA, made famous by Panasonic and Tesla. NCA cathodes typically have 80% Ni and 15% Co, but are ‘doped’ with aluminium as opposed to manganese (note, this is only where the similarities start).