Tesla China battery supplier CATL looks to increase range with new cell installation design

Tesla's Made-In-China Model 3 gets its first customer deliveries. (Source: Tesla China | Twitter)

Tesla China’s battery supplier CATL is working on a new battery integration technology that will allow cells to be directly installed into an electric vehicle’s chassis. Current designs require the cells to be put into a large casting design that makes battery systems heavy and bulky.

Ridding the large castings would provide more room for EV manufacturers to put a more robust number of cells into each vehicle, which could increase the range of each car.

CATL announced its intentions to change the installation tactic during an industry conference in Wuhan, China, on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

CATL Chairman Zeng Yuqun said that getting rid of the unnecessary weight and space that the casting takes up could increase the range of electric vehicles to at least 500 miles or 800 kilometers. The technology will take a few years to develop, but Zeng stated that CATL is aiming to have it ready before 2030.

Whether the Ningde, China-based company is working on the idea currently is unknown, as Zeng did not detail any current developments regarding the project. However, the design makes sense because the castings do take up room where additional cells could be placed.

The fact that the batteries would be directly installed into a vehicle’s chassis would allow the cell manufacturers to be more involved in the early design of a car. Currently, automakers source battery modules from the cell manufacturers and use them to equip a car’s layout.

However, Zeng stated that his company is also exploring new businesses that are related to battery production. The new areas include the recycling of cells and energy storage systems.

CATL’s battery developments have gone far past, figuring out new ways to implement the cell infrastructure into vehicles in a more efficient manner. The company has also been working toward developing a million-mile capable battery for currently contracted automakers. This includes Tesla, Honda, Volkswagen, and Daimler.

In June, Zeng said that the new million-mile capable batteries would last 16 years or 1.24 million miles. The Chairman also stated that the cost to produce the new, longer-lasting cells would be 10% higher than currently produced cells and that the company was ready to supply them if an automaker was ready.

CATL is currently focused on increasing its presence across the world and is planning to build a production facility in Germany. There is no plan for CATL to bring a facility to the United States as of right now.

In a filing from Tuesday, July 11, CATL stated it is ready to invest around 19 billion Chinese yuan, or $2.73 billion, in an attempt to secure critical resources for battery manufacturing and accelerate its presence across the globe.

Joey Klender: Transportation Writer | Penn State Alum | Future World Series of Poker Bracelet Holder 🚀 🛰 ☀️ 🚘 🧠 🕳
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