Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the world is only 12 years away from the electric vehicle revolution. Just like the heady days when computer chips improved so rapidly that the computer you bought today was obsolete by the time you brought it home, electric cars are improving so rapidly, we have need a dashboard to track changes. According to reports, the Tesla Model Ys being produced in Grünhdeide, Germany, use the new Size 4680 battery cells. Yet recently at the China EV 100 forum, Wu Kai, CATL’s chief scientist, said his company’s new Kirin battery packs 13% more power than a battery using 4680 cells, according to ChEVPost.
The CATL Kirin battery
It’s not that 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. 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 analyzed the range distribution of passenger cars over the past three years and found that consumers’ quest for long range is still a trend,” he added.
According to AutoEvolution, CATL and Tesla have friendly competition (we assume). When Tesla announced recently that it would have a 1.6 million kilometer battery, CATL announced that it would have a 2 million kilometer battery.
Wu had another news for the conference. He said the company is set to launch a new non-thermal diffusion technology that it says prevents fires through directional thermal conductivity properties. Batteries using this technology will have a range of 1,000 kilometers and should be available in 2023.
AuotEvolution claims that Tesla Model Y customers in the US are canceling orders and re-ordering in hopes that their cars will be built with the new 4680 battery cells. We expect this kind of nonsense to become quite common, as electric vehicle customers compete for the latest and greatest technology available.
Which reminds us of something Elon used to tell people years ago when they asked when was the best time to buy a Tesla. “Today,” was his standard response, explaining that Teslas are always adding new updates that are incorporated into the production process almost daily. “The best Tesla ever made is the one rolling off the assembly line right now,” he said.
Perhaps by 2030 the pace of technological change in the world or electric vehicles will have slowed down a bit, but for the rest of this decade improvements will happen faster and faster. We encourage readers not to wait. The best time to join the electric vehicle revolution is today. If you take a nap, you will lose the pleasure of emission-free driving. Buy an electric car. Drive happy!
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