Sustainability-in-Tech : World’s First “Superfast Charging” EV Battery

China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL) has announced the launch of world’s first 4C superfast charging LFP battery.  

The ‘Shenxing’ EV Battery 

CATL says the ‘Shenxing’ battery can deliver 400 km of driving range from a 10-minute charge as well as a range of over 700 km on a single full charge, which is around 60 per cent further than the average electric vehicle (EV) on full charge in 2023.  

The company says the Shenxing battery will “considerably alleviate fast charging anxiety for EV users” and “opens up an era of EV superfast charging”. 

How It Beats “Fast Charging Anxiety” 

The company, which manufactured more lithium-ion batteries than any of its competitors last year, says that fast charging anxiety is the top factor that stops consumers from shifting to EVs.  CATL says that its Shenxing battery “redefines” Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries and alleviates “fast charging anxiety” because: 

– It leverages super electronic network cathode technology and fully nano-crystallised LFP cathode materials to create a super-electronic network, which facilitates the fast extraction of lithium ions and the rapid response to charging signals. 

– CATL’s latest second-generation fast ion ring technology has been used to modify the properties of the battery’s graphite surface, thereby increasing intercalation channels (improving energy density) and shortens the intercalation distance for lithium ions. This creates a kind of “expressway” for current conduction.

– Its multi-gradient layered electrode design has been developed to strike a perfect balance between fast charging and long range. 

– CATL’s new superconducting electrolyte formula effectively reduces the viscosity of the electrolyte, resulting in improved conductivity within the battery. 

– The improved, ultra-thin SEI film (a passivation layer on the anode surface, inhibiting electrolyte decomposition) reduces resistance of lithium-ion movement, thereby improving the transmission rate of lithium ions and decreasing the resistance of lithium-ion movement. 

Better Overall Battery Performance

CATL says that new Shenxing battery’s features, as listed above, improves its overall performance in addition to its super-fast charging, because the Shenxing battery also has a longer driving range, fast charging over a wide range of temperatures, and a high level of safety thanks to structure innovation and leveraging intelligent algorithms.  For example:

– The use of CATL’s “trailblazing all-in-one grouping technology,” is a key reason why the Shenxing battery can reach a range of over 700 km, pushing the limits of the performance of LFP chemistry.

– CATL’s cell temperature control technology means the Shenxing battery can charge as normal even at low temperatures. For example, Shenxing can charge to 80 per cent SOC in 10 minutes at room temperature, and from 0-80 per cent in just 30 minutes in temperature as low as -10°C.

– CATL say the Shenxing battery’s upgraded electrolyte and the separator with a highly safe coating, combined with its intelligent algorithms, provide it with a “real-time fault testing system” that can solve the problems brought about by fast refuelling, thereby giving the battery a high level of safety. 

EV Batteries

Although CATL identifies “fast charging anxiety” as the biggest obstacle preventing more people from buying electric vehicles, battery technology has long been a real (physical) challenge to how far electric cars are able to travel on a charge. However, many buyers would also argue that there are many other ‘anxieties’ about EVs that are holding back EV sales such as the price of EVs (especially during a cost-of-living-crisis), and the availability of charging points (charging infrastructure).

There was some good news for the UK last month when Tata, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), confirmed it will be building a £4 billion EV battery factory (termed a ‘gigafactory’) at Bridgwater in Somerset. As well as providing jobs and giving the UK more of foothold in the EV industry, it will also help the UK by delivering half of the battery production needed by 2030 (in the UK, 2030 will see a ban on the sale of new cars using petrol or diesel).

Which Car Companies?

Although it was reported three years ago that CATL had developed a battery that could power an EV for 1.2 million miles over a 16-year lifespan and that deals may have been in place to supply Tesla, BMW, Daimler, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo, it is not clear from its latest more detailed announcement about the Shenxing battery’ which car manufacturers will be the first to use the new battery.

Record Breaking EV Sales In Recent Times

Even with the battery challenges, EVs are two or three times more efficient than conventional petrol/diesel-powered vehicles, plus they have the added benefit of having zero emissions (during driving). Major carmakers have already committed to making EVs and phasing out cars with internal combustion engines entirely by 2040, and it’s predicted (IEA) that electric car sales could overtake fossil fuel-powered car sales within the next 15 years. However, the hope is that breakthroughs in battery technology could make this happen faster which is good news for governments looking to hit carbon emissions targets and deadlines for phasing out fossil fuel vehicles. 

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

EV battery technology development and how it affects factors like speed-of-charging, range, battery weight, cost (and more) are factors which affect the wider adoption of EVs. The superfast charging and long range (700 km on a full charge) of CATL’s Shenxing battery appear to tackle two of the major challenges, although there are still many more, including charging infrastructure and EV prices.

However, if deals are successfully made with major manufacturers to use the battery and are they’re able to communicate the benefits to the car buying public, this could be one element that could speed up the uptake of EV ownership and the many benefits that brings (e.g. environmental / climate) and giving a better chance of hitting carbon reduction targets.

As mentioned, there are number of challenges that need to be met to make conditions better to enable larger sales of EVs, but this new battery technology could be an important step in the right direction.

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