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EV battery maker says its new cells can last a million miles

That’s over the course of its lifetime, not per charge.
Marc DeAngelis
June 8, 2020
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02 April 2020, Thuringia, Ichtershausen: The company "Contemporary Amperex Technology Thuringia GmbH" is located in the former Solarworld building in the Robert-Bosch-Straße at the Erfurter Kreuz. CATL has started construction work on a battery cell factory near Arnstadt. Up to 1.8 billion euros are to be invested in the factory in Thuringia over the next five years. Photo: Martin Schutt/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB (Photo by Martin Schutt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
picture alliance via Getty Images

You don’t need an electric car to know that rechargeable batteries degrade over time. Smartphone batteries hold a smaller and smaller charge as the years go by. That’s arguably one of the sticking points that’s keeping drivers from going all-electric. According to Bloomberg, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) claims its new cell can last 1.24 million miles, or 16 years. To put that into perspective, the average American drives about 14,000 miles per year.

Today’s EV batteries last about 200,000 miles, so this is a big jump -- so big that it seems too good to be true. CATL -- the world’s biggest supplier of EV batteries -- hasn’t shared any information on how it has engineered such a long-lasting cell, but according to the company’s chairman, Zeng Yuqun, Elon Musk visited China to check it out. The Tesla CEO decided to install the new battery in future Tesla Model 3 sedans, which will be built in the company’s Shanghai factory. Tesla has previously relied on Panasonic and LG for its batteries, according to Bloomberg. Zeng also claims that the company is ready to produce the new batteries as soon as needed, and that they’ll only cost 10 percent more than existing offerings.

Batteries are the most expensive component in electric cars. While this one will cost more, the idea of never having to replace it -- or even being able to reuse it in a future car -- could be an incentive for people who are on the fence about buying an EV. Hopefully CATL’s claims are true and we get a closer look at the technology behind these new cells.

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