SHANGHAI — Chinese electric vehicle startups Li Auto and Hozon New Energy Automobile have emerged as the first customers of a new long-range battery that Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. unveiled Thursday and plans to start mass producing in 2023.
The battery has a range of more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) on a single charge and is 13 percent more powerful than one planned by Tesla, a major customer. The battery also charges faster than existing cells, and is safer and more durable, CATL said.
The world’s biggest battery maker is scrambling to retain its top position against competition from rivals such as BYD, which will soon start supplying batteries to Tesla.
The new battery, called Qilin, will boost volume utilization rates to 72 percent, the world’s highest, versus 50 percent for its first-generation battery launched in 2019, the company said, and increase the battery system’s energy density to 255 Wh/kg.
The Qilin battery is named after a mythical Chinese creature. The supplier did not say if any EV maker has placed orders for the new battery.
In May, the company said it expected a better profit margin in the second quarter, after raising prices and passing on costs to customers.
CATL sold the equivalent of 41.5 GWh of batteries in the first four months, more than double the sales of second-placed LG Energy Solution, Seoul-based SNE Research says.
As it ramps up overseas expansion, CATL is in the final stages of vetting sites in the United States to build EV batteries, Reuters has reported.
The supplier, based in the city of Ningde in the southern province of Fujian, will start supplying cylindrical cells to BMW beginning in 2025 for a new series of EVs.
Tesla is also ramping up output of its 4680 batteries that hold about five times the energy of the company’s current 2170 cells.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.