Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (CATL) has unveiled a new battery that could help address one of the most notable weaknesses of electric vehicles.
The battery, which is called Shenxing or “god-like movement,” is expected to be capable of adding up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) of range in just 10 minutes. This was according to CATL’s e-car division chief technology officer Gao Han.
With such a battery in place, vehicles powered by CATL’s Shenxing could drive from New York to Boston — a distance of about 215 miles — after a quick 10-minute charge. That’s pretty close to the time it takes for a typical stop at a gas station.
Shenxing is expected to be “the world’s first 4C superfast charging LFP battery.” LFP batteries are known for their affordable price and chemical stability, but they have lower energy density than other battery chemistries, which could limit EVs’ range.
Despite this, LFP batteries have seen widespread use, thanks in part to companies like Tesla. LFP batteries are used for the electric vehicle maker’s affordable cars, such as the Model 3 RWD in China. The same chemistry is also used in the company’s energy storage units like the Megapack.
Mass production of the next-gen LFP battery is expected around the end of 2023, with deliveries starting in 2024. It remains to be seen if the new CATL battery will be used by key clients like Tesla, though it would be unsurprising if it gets used for future vehicles. Such a battery, after all, would be a good match for Tesla’s affordable next-generation vehicle, which would be produced at Gigafactory Mexico.
CATL’s development of Shenxing comes at a time when the EV industry is facing some challenges in China. Government subsidies for EVs are shrinking, and consumption is contracting amid a post-COVID economic downturn. CATL is also facing competition from rivals such as BYD, an EV giant that also makes batteries.
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