Chinese EV battery manufacturer's tech allows 300km drive after 15min of charging
By Gong Zhe
CATL's demonstration of its battery for electric buses /VCG Photo

CATL's demonstration of its battery for electric buses /VCG Photo

Electric vehicles (EV) are more environment-friendly than fuel-powered ones. But EV batteries are easy to drain and hard to charge. If a car runs out of juice in the middle of nowhere, it's a nightmare for the driver.

In China, potential EV buyers are worrying about the life of their cars' batteries, in what is commonly known as "charging anxiety" or "range anxiety."

The situation is similar to the early days of smartphones. Early smartphone batteries could only last around four hours under heavy use. People at the time rushed for battery saver apps, hoping to make their gadgets last longer, only to find it's almost impossible due to hardware limitations.

Today we have fast charging to solve the problem. A five-minute charge can give you two hours of calling time. And similar technology is also coming to vehicles.

Like all EV battery makers around the world, Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) is also working on a quick charging solution. They have managed to secure 300 kilometers of driving with a 15-minute charge.

View of the CATL campus. /VCG Photo

View of the CATL campus. /VCG Photo

The Ningde-based company won the EV Technology Innovation Award at the 2019 World New Energy Vehicle Congress (WNEVC). It has been a leader in EV battery solutions since 2017, beating Panasonic and BYD in just six years, according to data from GGII.

"Battery makers are trying to employ graphite in their products. But it is not a natural fit," Cheng Xiaoyan, head of research at CATL, told Science Daily.

"We created a 'fast ion ring' at the negative terminal of the battery, and a 'super electron network' at the positive terminal, creating a fast lane for lithium ions to pass through," she explained.

"Our technology is 20 to 30 percent faster than other graphite-based solutions."

According to Science Daily, this battery solution has been applied to more than 5,000 electric buses in China. It also won the "most-acclaimed battery in electric buses" award from China's Ministry of Transport.

The company is now moving further to mass-produce more dense batteries by the end of the year, which can be fully charged in 15 minutes and provide 350 kilometers of battery life.