EV Ranges Could Double Thanks To This Incredible Battery
CATL just showed their dominance.
While we can now buy EVs with well over 350 miles of range for less than $50,000, range anxiety is still a massive turn-off for many potential EV buyers. For anyone who does any kind of regular mileage with heavy loads or towing trailers, a regular low-range EV is completely useless. As a result, there is a gaping hole in the EV market for mega-range EVs that are capable of managing tasks like this, and the first manufacturer to offer such a car could get a significant lead on the competition. It’s only now, with the announcement of CATL’s latest condensed matter battery, that the technology to enable such long-range EVs has become available.
The CATL condensed matter battery has a gigantic capacity of 500 Wh per kg. For some perspective, the Panasonic 2170 that Tesla uses in the Model 3 is 260 Wh/kg, making this new battery nearly twice as energy-dense! Sadly, we don’t yet know the battery’s charge times or cost, but this insanely high energy density demonstrates a significant leap forward. So, how has CATL achieved such incredible specs?
Well, it uses a new semi-solid design. These batteries use electrodes (the ends of the battery) made from a gooey gel-like material rather than a solid metal. This means fewer binding agents are needed to assemble the battery, reducing weight dramatically. During manufacturing, these cells don’t have to wait for these bonding agents to dry, making production incredibly simple, ultra-fast, and potentially much cheaper. These gooey electrodes can also absorb far more lithium per kilogramme, making these batteries even more energy dense.
Admittedly, semi-solid batteries aren’t a new idea. An MIT spinoff, 24M, has been developing them for years now. Their semi-solid battery isn’t as energy dense as CATL’s, but it is dramatically more energy dense than any typical lithium-ion battery while costing only $79.20 per kWh and taking 15 minutes to charge from 10% to 80% (read more here). For comparison, Tesla’s “revolutionary” 4680 battery costs $91 per kWh, is actually less energy dense than the Panasonic 2170 it replaces, and takes 25 minutes to charge from 10% to 80%.
So there is a good chance that CATL’s condensed matter battery could be relatively affordable and have brilliant charge times, just like that of 24M.
But what can such an energy-dense battery offer us? Well, it can enable electric aviation, dramatically extend EV ranges, and even reduce the impact of EVs on the environment. Let me explain.
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