Tesla’s battery supplier has a new 'condensed battery' to power cars and planes
CATL has knocked the ball out of the park for energy-dense batteries
Chinese battery maker CATL has unveiled a ‘condensed battery’ boasting 500Wh/kg energy density at Auto Shanghai. And this is good news for electric vehicles. Let’s just give that number a bit of context.
The Mercedes-Benz EQXX is, as our esteemed colleague Paul Horrell states, ‘the ultra-long-range EV experiment’, which managed a whopping 715 miles on one charge in our tests. That battery is 100kWh and has an energy density of 200Wh/kg.
At more than double the density, the implications for the new semi-solid state CATL technology goes far beyond making our electric cars go further.
If batteries have a higher energy density, you need fewer of them to offer the same range. If you need fewer of them, you make the vehicle lighter by default. Thus, the vehicle goes further again. Or the vehicle can even be a plane. High energy-dense batteries are game-changing.
Since 500Wh/kg is a target many battery developers are aiming for, CATL’s announcement is somewhat a coup. It’s the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery supplier, providing Tesla with its high-density packs — widely considered the most energy-dense batteries on the globe.
CATL has achieved this new level of energy density by concentrating a highly conductive electrolyte, and combining it with an ultra-high energy-dense cathode, among other things.
Though the brand has yet to disclose the number of charge and discharge cycles these new batteries can achieve, or how quick a charge they’ll be capable of accepting, the decrease in weight means they’ll be suitable for aircraft.
That said, all these innovative solutions are expensive and often really tough to scale-up. While CATL seems optimistic about how quickly it can achieve mass production, it hasn't put a date on that either.
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