In 2019, CATL introduced its cell to pack technology to the world with a volume efficiency of 55%. This week, the company unveiled its new Qilin (formerly known as Kirin) battery pack that boasts a volume efficiency of 72%. It is said to have an energy density of 255 Wh/kg, which the company says is 13% higher than the energy density of Tesla’s latest 4680 cells. We could go on about the general goodness of the Qilin battery, but CATL has kindly created a video that explains it all rather nicely.
Qilin is the name of a creature in Chinese mythology, according to a report by Yahoo Finance. The new battery is said to charge faster and travel further on a single charge than any battery previously produced by CATL. The company claims cars equipped with the new batteries will be able to travel more than 1000 km on a single charge. (That all depends on the size of the battery pack and the aerodynamic efficiency of the car, of course.)
According to CnEVPost, CATL has quadrupled the heat transfer area by placing the liquid cooling element — typically found at the bottom of the battery cells — between the cells instead. This allows for faster charging times, better thermal control of cell temperatures, and faster warm-up of the battery cells in cold weather for better performance.
The new design supports a fast hot start in 5 minutes and charging to 80% in 10 minutes, CATL says. In extreme conditions, the cells can be cooled down rapidly, effectively blocking abnormal heat transfer between cells and reducing the chance of thermal runaway events (fires, to us non-technical types).
In addition, CATL says the integrated energy pack composed of the battery cell and the multi-functional elastic sandwich layer builds a more stable force structure in the direction perpendicular to the travel direction, improving the structural strength and impact resistance of the battery pack.
CATL supplies batteries to most of the major automakers both in China and around the world, so it is likely the Qilin battery packs will find their way into production cars beginning next year. There is no official word on which companies have signed up to use the new battery packs from CATL at this moment. What is known is that CATL is investigating sites in the US to build its first battery factory in North America. It is the largest battery supplier in the world and intends to stay there.
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