Chinese battery maker CATL launched Qilin, the third generation of its CTP (cell-to-pack) technology. With a record-breaking volume utilization efficiency of 72% and an energy density of up to 255 Wh/kg, it achieves the highest integration level worldwide so far, capable of delivering a range of over 1,000 km in a breeze.
Focusing on the very nature of electrochemistry, CATL continues its endeavor to push beyond the boundaries of innovations in system structure. In 2019, CATL launched the world’s first module-less battery pack CTP, taking the lead in achieving a volume utilization efficiency of over 50%. Together with overall breakthroughs in the core process, algorithm and materials, CATL redefines battery structure design with “Qilin,” which is named after a legendary creature in Chinese mythology.
In the CTP 3.0 battery, the internal crossbeam, liquid-cooling plate and thermal pad have been integrated into a multifunctional elastic interlayer. It also features built-in micron bridges inside the interlayer, which flexibly accommodate the changes inside the cell, improving the battery reliability throughout its full life cycle. The integrated energy unit, which is composed of the cell and the multifunctional elastic interlayer, builds a more stable load bearing structure perpendicular to the driving direction, thus enhancing the shock and vibration resistance of the battery pack.
Reshaping system structure
Powered by its precise computing and AI simulation capabilities, CATL explores the boundaries of battery design involving the battery’s full life cycle application scenarios. The ingenious bottom sharing design allows the smart arrangement of various components including structural protection, high-voltage connection and a protective vent for thermal runaway, further increasing the battery capacity by 6%. Meanwhile, the CTP 3.0 battery satisfies the criteria of the battery safety tests required by national standards such as the bollard test.
Disruptive Water Cooling Design
By placing liquid cooling functional parts between adjacent cells, the trailblazing large-surface cell cooling technology increases the heat transfer area by four times, cuts thermal control time in half, and supports a hot start in 5 minutes and fast charging in 10 minutes. It enables the cell to cool down rapidly in extreme circumstances, effectively preventing abnormal thermal conduction among cells. Moreover, it has achieved thermal stability and thermal safety for all chemical systems, making it compatible with materials with higher energy density.
From the material, cell to system structure, the systematic engineering mindset runs through the whole chain of research and development in CATL. Supported by the above-mentioned technological innovations, the CTP 3.0 battery can increase the energy density to 255Wh/kg for ternary battery systems, and 160Wh/kg for LFP battery systems. With the same chemical system and the same pack size, it can deliver 13% more power than the 4680 battery, accomplishing an all-round improvement in range, fast-charging, safety, service life, efficiency and low-temperature performance.
The CTP 3.0 batteries, or Qilin, are expected to be mass produced and come on the market in 2023. From simulated computing in the micro world to artful streamlining inside the battery structure, CATL remains focused on technological ingenuity and independent innovation, aiming to promote the overtaking of fossil fuel vehicles by electric ones.