The transition from traditional fuel-powered transportation to Electronic Vehicles is key to a safer and pollution-free environment. However, some factors turn people away from EVs. One such factor is the EV’s battery. The batteries in the electric vehicles don’t last forever and are pricey to replace. Batteries have improved over the years but are still not good enough for people to make the change. But that could change with the Million Mile Battery. CATL, an industry-leading battery manufacturer has announced that it is ready to mass-produce car batteries that can last up to 16 years and one million miles. The company’s link with Elon Musk’s Tesla hints that the latter could be the first manufacturer to use it in its EVs.
Efforts for more efficient Li-on batteries
A report from Reuters earlier this year reported that Tesla was working on a million-mile battery in collaboration with CATL. It isn’t hidden that Elon Musk and Tesla are pushing for a more efficient battery for their electric vehicles. The focus has been on reducing the cobalt composition and on increasing the recyclability of the components within the cells. Tesla recently bought Maxwell Technologies and is reported to have close ties with Redwood Materials. While the former aims to bring down the cost of manufacturing li-ion battery, the latter is a startup focused on recycling old batteries.
Tesla isn’t the only car manufacturer to be working on cheaper and cleaner battery technology. Back in May, General Motors announced that its latest batteries require 70% less cobalt, a feat that could be the result of its collaboration with LG Chem.
CATL Million Miles Battery: Everything you need to know
The latest break-through in the battery industry has come from Contemporary Amperex Technology, otherwise known as CATL. The company has claimed that it’s capable of producing batteries that can last for sixteen years or one million miles (1.26 million miles to be exact). It doesn’t mean that on a single charge, vehicles will be able to cover such distance. What it means is that the car will have to have covered 1.26 million miles before the battery needs a replacement. It still is a major leap for the EV industry that is struggling with the longevity of batteries.
The Million Miles Battery will be 10% more expensive than the standard batteries of today. However, in the long run, it could prove pivotal to lure people towards alternative energy. With the Million Mile Battery, electric cars will have a longer life span. It will reduce the cost per unit energy of the EV. It has been widely accepted that if the EV start offering $100/kWh, it will lead to price parity with its fuel-powered counterpart. As such, there will hardly be any reason for customers to go with traditional fuels. We will have to see if the Million Mile Battery will be able to reach this feat, but there is no denying that it is a positive step towards the ultimate goal.
The company is well-aware of the fact that the industry has taken a hit from the recent coronavirus outbreak, and it will take some time for the industry to recover from it. CATL believes that EV will be the first to recover compared to its gas-powered counterpart. It is confident that the EV market will start showing growth from 2021.
CATL also expects EVs to be mainstream starting from 2030 – 2035.
Relation with Tesla
Company’s Chairmen, Zeng Yuqu, has said that the company can produce the Million Mile Battery if anyone places an order. He has accepted that he is close to Elon Musk and that the two share insights on research and business. The two have also worked together earlier this year for the ventilators that Elon Musk promised during coronavirus outbreak.
Tesla appointed CATL as the battery supplier for Model 3 for its Shanghai-based plant for a two-year term. Though he is tight-lipped about Tesla’s contribution to the Million Miles Battery, Yuqu has accepted that the two companies are working on cobalt-free batteries. CATL could start supplying the improved batteries to Tesla starting from next year.
CATL hasn’t even started manufacturing the Million Mile Battery, but people doubt if it will bring a positive impact on the industry. Though the battery may not require a replacement before 16 years of its service, rarely do people stick with the same car for that long. It could lead to a waste of the true capability of the innovation. Considering the added cost associated with its manufacturing process; the situation could prove to be quite worrying instead.
It is a significant change that people who doubt the longevity and replacement cost are now worried that the full capability of the batteries won’t be utilized properly. However, some experts suggest that the unused battery could be reused in other new EVs.
CATL Million Mile Battery: Production and Availability
Reuters earlier reported that the Million Mile Battery could debut with the Tesla Model 3 in China. However, there has been no confirmation from either side for that matter. Tesla isn’t the only company with links to CATL. We could see CATL supplying the new innovation to companies like BMW, Toyota, and Volkswagen. CATL is planning to open a plant in Germany and, in the process, has been close to German automobile manufacturers.
CATL is confident that the Million Miles Battery will be in cars starting later this year or the start of the next year, with the latter being the more realistic time frame.
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