Tesla's battery supplier CATL is making huge gains with new M3P tech.
Tesla works with a few suppliers to get the batteries it needs for cars like the Tesla Model Y. Recently, we've heard a lot about Panasonic and Tesla's new 4680 batteries. Those will be used to (ideally) make some models a little more affordable with both performance and efficiency gains.
However, another of Tesla's suppliers is going the other way, improving energy density and manufacturing a more premium battery that'll perform better for the EV automaker. Chinese company CATL is working with new battery materials that'll improve energy density by around 10-20% and boost range.
Zeng Yuqun, CATL's chairman, spoke about the company's new M3P batteries at the World New Energy Vehicle Congress. There, Yuqun said that CATL's next-gen M3P battery will allow an EV to manage 430 miles (700 km) per charge. Reportedly, the new materials found in the battery are what can be credited for the figures, as they offer greater storage potential within the same physical space of an existing battery. For reference, the 20% or so gain is in comparison to more traditional iron-phosphate batteries. These iron phosphate units are common, with large brands like Ford beginning to integrate them more widely into its production cycles.
In addition to improved energy density thanks to new materials, Yuqun said that costs will be lower as compared to both cobalt- and nickel-based batteries that are widely used today. Ideally, this will translate to a cheaper, more affordable electric car. We say car because it isn't just Tesla that CATL is making these batteries for.
In fact, the brand is the world's largest battery maker, and its sales figures alone account for more than one-third of the sales of batteries for EVs across the globe. CATL's clientele includes other automakers as well, like Volkswagen and BMW. Ford even gets batteries from CATL.
On top of providing for those brands, CATL announced earlier last week that it would also be supplying Geely Automobile Holdings. The Chinese automaker owns brands like Volvo, Polestar, and Lotus, all of which have fully electric vehicles. CATL calls these Qilin batteries, and will use them in Geely's Zeekr vehicle and they boast 13% more energy density than the Panasonic 4680 cells that will be made in a new US plant.
The announcement regarding CATL's range gains couldn't have come at a more critical time for the EV industry. One of the major hurdles for car buyers considering EVs has been longer range and the new CATL M3P tech offers range in the area of many gas-powered cars.