The Chinese battery cell manufacturer CATL is working on a new approach for more powerful electric cars. After the so-called “cell-to-pack” technology, in which the cells are integrated directly into the battery pack without the intermediate step of modules, the focus is now on “cell-to-chassis”.
This means that the battery cells are to be integrated directly into the chassis of electric cars, which means that not only the modules but also the packs could be dispensed with. This would make the bulky housings that are usually built into the underbody of cars today superfluous. According to a Reuters report, CATL intends to bring cell-to-chassis technology to market before 2030.
With the elimination of the modules and the pack, it should be possible to install more cells in the same installation space, thus increasing the range. With the new technology, electric vehicles could achieve a range of over 800 kilometres, said CATL chairman Zeng Yuqun at an industry conference in Wuhan.
Technical details, i.e. how exactly the cells with the power electronics and the cooling system are to be installed directly into the cars, are not yet known. It is also unclear whether CATL intends to continue to install the cells in one place – in the underbody, for example – or whether the design without a fixed battery housing should also allow for more flexible integration into the vehicle. CATL also made no statements about the safety of the planned system.
Battery housings are a central component of the body of current electric cars. They are supposed to protect the battery cells in the event of an accident. Damage to the cells could lead to short circuits and consequently to “thermal leakage” of the batteries.
Because of this great importance, the battery housing is now integrated so deeply into the body that the vehicles would have to be modified for the use of CTC technology. CATL gave no indication of whether the company is already working on such projects with one of its customers.
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