Lithium ion battery cathode material LiNi0.8Co0.15Al0.05O2 cathode has successfully prepared by co-precipitation. CeO2 surface modification has improved LiNi0.80Co0.15Al0.05O2 electrochemical performance use sol-gel method and subsequent heat treatment at 600 °C for 5 h. Different to other conventional coating material, CeO2 coating layer can not only inhibit the reaction of the electrode and the electrolyte, but also can reduce the impedance of electron transfer due to its high conductivity, and inhibit the production of Ni2+ because of its high oxidation. The surface-modified and pristine LiNi0.80Co0.15Al0.05O2 powders are characterized by XRD, SEM, TEM, XPS, CV and DSC. When CeO2 coating is 0.02% (mole ratio), contrast to pristine NCA, the CeO2-coated NCA cathode exhibits no decrease in its initial specific capacity of 184 mAh g −1 (at 0.2 C) and excellent capacity retention (86% of its initial capacity at 1 C) between 2.75 and 4.3 V after 100 cycles. The results indicate that the CeO2 surface treatment should be an effective way to improve cycle properties due to CeO2 inhibit the electrodes and the electrolyte side effects.