The world’s largest EV battery maker, CATL, released a ground breaking 1000 km (620 mile) range battery back in June which set the EV world alight. The new Qilin (pronounced cheeling) battery not only offers mind blowing range and energy density, but features a bunch of other cutting edge tech which will speed up charging to the point where it rivals filling up at a gas station.
The first iteration of the battery uses ‘rapid thermal control with a quadruple cooling system’ to support fast charging to 80% in just 10 minutes. They’ve done this by integrating the battery cooling much closer to each individual cell. Faster, more precise and much safer.
But that was in June. At an investor’s conference call two weeks later in early July, the company revealed that it’s already working on a battery pack which will offer fast charging from 10-80% in a staggering 5 minutes. And as icing on the cake, the technology will provide up to 16 years or 2 million kilometers of service life.
Now before we all start sneering, this is a company which is known for delivering what it promises, and they have already installed demonstration units of the 10 minute batteries in various Chinese EV prototypes.
Remember, this is not a completely new technology. This is the 3rd generation of its CTP (cell to pack) tech and it’s just being evolved and refined. Chinese carmakers, Li Auto Inc. and Hozon New Energy Automobile Co have already announced plans to incorporate Qilin in their new 1000 km range EVs. Kia also announced a tie-up with CATL at the same time.
As if that’s not enough to demonstrate just how far ahead the Chinese are in terms of EV technology, CATL (which stands for Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited) have just signed an agreement with the Chengdu City Municipal Government, to start development and testing of battery swap technology.
This tech may well be used to fill in the gaps between consumer EVs and public service electric vehicles, offering huge range and an almost instant swap out of battery packs during a working day.
Believe it or not, battery swapping seems to be an increasingly viable option in China. China’s biggest EV maker, Nio, has also been showing off its own battery swap tech recently. Each swap takes just 3 minutes, and each station can swap out over 300 batteries a day, as you can see in the video below.
A final piece of news which came in last week, is the announcement of a new $7 billion CATL battery plant to be set up in Debrecen in Hungary. The new EU factory already has a major customer before the first brick has been laid. Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that it will buy batteries from the plant when it’s operative. They already buy CATL batteries, so this is simply a reconfimation of their partnership.
As for our 5 minute, 1000 km battery pack? Mass production begins next year in China, so we should expect to see the first test vehicles maybe by the end of this year. Which will be incredible when you think about it. The speed at which this technology is moving is breathtaking, and anyone who doesn’t realise that, has their head firmly stuck in the deep sand dunes of denial.