CATL claims its superfast EV battery charges at 400 km per 10 minutes
The Chinese company launched what it calls the "world's first 4C superfast charging LFP battery," the Shenxing, at its 2023 product launch event. With a total range over 700 km (435 miles), it's also designed for exceptional performance in freezing conditions.
CATL is the world's biggest EV battery manufacturer, selling packs, cells and technologies to a range of global OEMs including BMW, Daimler, Honda, Tesla, Volkswagen and many others, including most of China's biggest automakers.
This is the second groundbreaking battery the company has released this year, the first being a mass-production "condensed battery," targeted at the electric aviation world, that holds twice as much energy per weight as a Tesla Model Y battery at a remarkable 500 Wh/kg. And that's not to mention the monster 140-kWh "Qilin" battery CATL supplied last year for a special edition of the Zeekr 001, making it the first production electric car with a range over 1,000 km (621 miles).
Sheer size and capacity is one way to alleviate range anxiety, but the new Shenxing battery attacks from the other direction, promising to charge up so quickly that a flat battery will be no more of an impediment than a flashing fuel light.
To safely pump electrons in at that crazy 4C rate, CATL has designed a "fully nano-crystallized lithium iron phosphate cathode material to create a super electronic network, which facilitates the extraction of lithium ions and the rapid response to charging signals."
"Fast ion ring" technology has been deployed on the graphite electrodes, creating more metaphorical freeway lanes and shortening travel distances for the lithium ions as they travel toward and away from the active surfaces. And a new "superconducting electrolyte formula" reduces viscosity, helping ions move charge more rapidly.
CATL says the battery will charge from 0-80% in 10 minutes, unlocking up to 400 km (249 miles) of driving range in a single, very quick stint on a fast charger. That's at normal temperatures; take things down below freezing to -10 °C (14 °F), and an 80% charge using built-in battery heating will take you 30 minutes. The company says that low temperatures won't affect the battery's ability to deliver its full power to the wheels if needed.
Weirdly, the company hasn't provided other critical information as yet, like specific energy by weight, or the total capacity of the pack – although to deliver that impressive 700-km range, it'll have to be somewhere around 80-100 kWh, depending on the overall efficiency of the car and pack.
CATL says it expects the Shenxing battery to be in mass production by the end of 2023, but is yet to nominate which OEM's EVs we're likely to see it appear in first.