Last week, Chinese EV battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) announced a breakthrough in battery technology. The company’s new Qilin battery could enable electric vehicles to achieve a range of 1000 kilometers (621 miles) on a single charge.
CATL has developed a condensed EV battery that it has dubbed “Qilin,” in honor of one of the most powerful creatures in Chinese mythology. Qilin has an energy density of 255 Wh/kg, 13% higher than Tesla’s latest 4680 battery cell. When one takes into account the smaller size of the Qilin battery, Qilin’s energy density is nearly twice as high as the Tesla 4680 battery on a per-unit basis.
Given that Tesla’s 4680 battery was considered a game-changer just months ago, the Qilin battery is an impressive achievement. The Tesla 4680 battery has a reported range of only 450 kilometers (279 miles).
The Qilin battery contains partially solid electrolytes. These electrolytes provide higher energy density than the liquid electrolytes used in conventional lithium-ion batteries.
Qilin also boasts substantially faster charge times than other EV batteries. An EV with a Qilin battery can reportedly achieve 80% charge in 10 minutes. By comparison, the fastest-charging EV currently on the market is the Lucid Air. It takes 15 minutes for the Lucid Air to achieve 80% charge (a 50% longer charge time).
The importance of the Qilin battery is heightened by CATL’s status within the industry. CATL supplies a third of the world’s EV batteries, making the company the largest EV battery manufacturer on the planet. Its clients include major EV brands like Volkswagen, BMW, Nio, and Tesla. If the Qilin battery lives up to expectations, 1000 kilometer EV ranges could become the industry standard within just a few years.
CATL’s Qilin battery will enter mass production by the end of 2023. In addition to EVs, the battery could also provide power to airplanes.