Chinese EV battery maker unveils its strongest unit, promises 1,000km range

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China’s CATL on Wednesday unveiled its strongest battery yet, saying it could one day power electric aircraft. The battery can pack more energy into a smaller package, with an energy density of 500 watt-hours per kilogram, CATL chief scientist Wu Kai said in a presentation at the Shanghai Auto Show. CATL’s latest battery, called Qilin, has an energy density of 255 Wh/kg and can power an EV for 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) on a single charge.

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Updated on:
April 19, 2023 at 15:32 pm

Chinese EV battery maker CATL has developed its most powerful unit yet, promising a range of 1,000 kilometers on a single charge. The company will begin mass production of electric vehicle batteries later this year.  (Bloomberg)
Chinese EV battery maker CATL has developed its most powerful unit yet, promising a range of 1,000 kilometers on a single charge. The company will begin mass production of electric vehicle batteries later this year. (Bloomberg)

The technology, which CATL calls condensed matter batteries, could be a breakthrough that could help electrify industries that rely on fossil fuels because existing batteries are too heavy or unsafe. Still, questions remain about the materials it will use, its cost, and its ultimate market impact.

CATL, the world’s largest maker of batteries for electric vehicles, plans to start mass producing the new batteries this year and is collaborating to develop civilian electric aircraft using the technology, Wu said. The company declined to say who it was working with, citing nondisclosure agreements.

Also read: Electric cars are the main battleground at the Shanghai Auto Show

While CATL did not specify how much the condensed matter batteries used in electric vehicles would cost, it said it would cost 10 times as much as an airplane.

In his speech, Wu said that the condensed matter battery forms a micron-scale network structure that improves the efficiency of lithium-ion transport without compromising safety. They have innovative anode materials and separators that can use a variety of high-energy cathode materials, he said, without specifying what they are.

Also read: Volkswagen’s most powerful electric car ID.7 debuts with 700km range

A spokesperson said that compressed-state battery technology is different from experimental solid-state or semi-solid batteries, which CATL believes still have unresolved scientific and technical issues.

First published date: April 19, 2023 at 15:32 PM CST

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