SHANGHAI, Apr 6 (SMM) - Wu Kai, the chief scientist of CATL, the global power battery leader, said at the recent China EV 100 Forum that although the penetration rate of global new energy vehicle (NEV) market has continued to increase in an accelerated electrification process, end users still have concerns about new energy vehicles in terms of driving range, safety and charging. In order to address these concerns, CATL has developed three core technologies, namely highly efficient grouping technology, thermal diffusion-free technology, and battery swapping turn-key solution, to help promote the electrification process.
Consumers' anxiety about the driving range of NEVs seems to have never stopped since the appearance of this product. Generally speaking, there are two main solutions to improve the energy density of battery packs. One is to directly change the battery pack's overall material system by finding and matching materials that have higher energy density. The second is to optimise the structure of battery pack and improve the space utilisation of battery module on top of retaining the chemical system of the original battery.
Dr. Wu Kai said that CATL has developed and launched the third-generation CTP battery technology, which was called "Qilin Battery" within the company, through continuous technological upgrading. Such battery is the highest level in the industry in terms of system weight, energy density and size energy density, and can be made from either lithium iron phosphate or NMC cathode materials. It is applicable to both passenger and commercial vehicles. Under the same chemical system and the same battery pack size, the power of Qilin battery pack is 13% higher than that of 4680 battery system. This battery will be officially released in April this year. The energy density of LFP and NCM battery systems using CTP3.0 platform module technology could reach 160Wh/Kg and more than 250Wh/Kg respectively. In recent years, with the substantial increase in sales of NEVs and the use of high-nickel materials, fires and spontaneous combustion accidents have occurred frequently in NEVs, which led the market to question the safety of NEVs. In fact, in the case of failure of a single battery, if the thermal diffusion does not occur in the battery pack, the harm of harmful gases generated after the thermal runaway of the battery pack will be greatly reduced, and the safety of the entire battery pack will be improved.
According to statistics disclosed by CATL, in 2019, only 6% of CATL's customers specifically required that thermal diffusion must not occur in batteries, and the proportion surged to 86% in 2021. Wu Kai said that the current national standard limits thermal diffusion to less than five minutes, that is, battery companies are required to ensure that the entire battery pack has no risk of fire and explosion within five minutes after the failure of a single battery cell. However, the national standard is the minimum threshold requirement of the industry. Enterprises should take “zero thermal diffusion” as the design standard, and should take the initiative to achieve this goal through all technologies possible.
Wu Kai said that after the mass production of the 8-series products installed with the thermal diffusion-free technology in 2020, mass production of battery that features a driving range of 1,000 km, thermal diffusion-free technology and higher specific energy will also be achieved in 2023.
Wu Kai also said that CATL will address consumer concerns about low residual value and difficulty in charging. CATL will launch battery swapping turn-key solution to meet the multi-scenario application needs of end users. CATL will redefine the specifications and standards of power battery packs, and encourage different car companies and models to adopt standard battery packs so as to realise the sharing of power swapping resources among various models and avoid repeated investment of social resources.
For consumers, adopting the vehicle-battery separation mode will greatly lower their purchase threshold of electric vehicles. At the same time, standard battery packs of other car models can be used for battery swapping, and the number of battery packs used can be adjusted according to actual needs, so as to lower costs and improve convenience.