CATL Kirin Battery Has 13% More Energy Density Than 4680 Cells

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Sometimes it’s hard to remember the world is only 12 years into the EV revolution. Just like the heady days when computer chips were improving so rapidly that the computer you bought today was obsolete by the time you got it home, electric cars are improving so fast, we need a scorecard to keep up with the changes. According to reports, Tesla Model Ys being produced in Grünhdeide, Germany are using the new 4680 format battery cells. Yet recently at the China EV 100 forum, Wu Kai, chief scientist for CATL, said his company’s new Kirin battery packs 13% more power than a battery pack using 4680 cells, according to ChEVPost.

The CATL Kirin Battery

It’s not that the individual battery cells are more powerful, it’s that CATL’s third generation cell to pack technology squeezes more power into the same space occupied by a 4680 battery pack. The secret is in the packaging, not a new breakthrough in battery chemistry. Wu said the Kirin battery leads the industry in system weight, energy density, and volumetric energy density. “We have analyzed the range distribution of passenger cars in the last three years and found that consumers’ quest for long range is still a trend,” he added.

According to AutoEvolution, CATL and Tesla are having some friendly (we assume) competition. When Tesla announced recently it would have a 1.6 million kilometer battery, CATL announced it would have a 2 million kilometer battery.

Wu had another bit of news for the conference. He stated that the company is close to releasing new non-thermal diffusion technology it says prevents fires thanks to directional thermal conductivity properties. The battery packs using this technology will will have a range of 1,000 kilometers and are expected to be available in 2023.

The Takeaway

AuotEvolution claims Tesla Model Y customers in the US are cancelling their orders and re-ordering in hopes their cars will be built with the new 4680 battery cells. We expect that sort of silliness to become fairly common, as EV customers vie to have the latest and greatest technology available.

Which reminds us of something Elon used to tell people years ago when they asked when the best time to buy a Tesla was. “Today,” was his standard answer, explaining that Teslas are always adding new updates that are incorporated into the production process almost on a daily basis. “The best Tesla ever made is the one coming off the assembly line right now,” he said.

Maybe by 2030, the pace of technological change in the world or EVs will have slowed down a bit, but for the rest of this decade, the improvements will be coming thick and fast. We encourage readers not to wait. The best time to join the EV revolution is today. If you snooze, you will lose out on the joy of driving emissions free. Buy an electric car. Drive happy!


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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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