China's EV battery maker unveils its strongest unit, promises 1,000-km range

CATL has announced it has developed a 500 kWh battery that can also power an electric aircraft. The battery is almost twice as powerful of its stronge
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Chinese EV battery manufacturer CATL has developed its most powerful unit that promises range of 1,000 kms on a single charge. The company will start mass production of the battery for electric vehicles later this year. (Bloomberg)
Chinese EV battery manufacturer CATL has developed its most powerful unit that promises range of 1,000 kms on a single charge. The company will start mass production of the battery for electric vehicles later this year.

China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., known as CATL, unveiled its strongest battery to date Wednesday, saying that it could one day be used to power electric aircraft. The battery, which loads more power into a smaller package, has an energy density of 500 watt-hours per kilogram, CATL’s Chief Scientist Wu Kai said during a presentation at the Shanghai auto show. CATL’s most recent battery, called Qilin, has an energy density of 255 Wh/kg and can power an electric vehicle for 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) on one charge.

The technology, which CATL calls a condensed state battery, is potentially a breakthrough that will help electrify sectors wed to fossil fuels because existing batteries are either too heavy or unsafe. Still, questions remain about the materials it will use, its cost and ultimate market impact.

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CATL, the world’s biggest maker of EV batteries, plans to start mass production of the new cell this year and is collaborating on developing a civilian electric aircraft using the technology, Wu said. The company declined to say who it was working with, citing confidentiality agreements.

Also read: Electric vehicles are key battleground at Shanghai Auto Show

While CATL didn’t specify what the condensed state battery will cost for electric cars, it said it will be 10 times that figure for aircraft.

In his speech, Wu said the condensed state batteries create a micron-level net structure that increases the efficiency of lithium-ion transportation without compromising safety. They have innovative anode materials and separators and can use a variety of high-energy cathode materials, he said, without specifying what they were.

Also read: ID.7, Volkswagen's most powerful EV, makes debut with 700 km range

A spokesman said the compressed state battery technology is different to experimental solid state or semi-solid state batteries, which CATL sees as still having unresolved scientific and technical problems.

First Published Date: 19 Apr 2023, 15:32 PM IST
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