The Chinese manufacturer GAC Aion has increased the maximum range of its LX electric SUV to over 1,000 kilometres – albeit, as is still customary in China, according to the outdated NEDC standard. The improved vehicle is expected to debut on GAC Aion’s home market in the coming months.
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The new Aion LX Plus variant, which is now listed with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), should have an NEDC range of exactly 1,008 kilometres thanks to a battery with a capacity of 144.4 kWh. The portal CN EV Post specifies that the battery pack is supposed to have an energy density of 205 Wh/kg and that the lithium-ion cells used are based on an NMC cathode in combination with a silicon-containing anode.
The technology used is said to make the batteries lighter and smaller and improve energy density, power and performance at cold temperatures. The approach is described as “silicon sponge technology”, i.e. the silicon-containing anode is supposed to be as soft as a sponge. GAC is said to have been working on this concept for 15 years. The increased energy density can reduce the size of the battery unit by 20 per cent and the weight by 14 per cent, they say.
In the case of the Aion LX, this should increase the range from 650 to a good 1,000 kilometres with the same volume of the battery pack. GAC Aion had unveiled the electric SUV at the end of 2019; at the time still with CATL cells and a battery pack of up to 93 kWh in combination with a 300 kW all-wheel-drive system (in the top version).
The Aion LX Plus is expected to be unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show on 19 November. The price has not yet been made public. The price range for the Aion LX is 229,600 to 349,600 yuan, the equivalent of 31,130 to 47,400 euros. The listing of the Aion LX Plus with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology indicates that the launch of the electric car in China is imminent.
In addition to the Aion LX as an electric SUV, GAC has so far presented the Aion S as an electric limousine and the Aion Y and Aion V as further electric SUVs from the Aion series. The latter is also supposed to have a range of 1,000 kilometres according to NEDC. However, thanks to a graphene battery.
Update 07 January 2022
GAC Aion has now started selling its SUV model Aion LX Plus with around 1,000 km NEDC range in China. With this, the price is now also known: The Aion LX Plus starts from 459,600 yuan, which currently corresponds to just under 64,000 euros. As reported, GAC Aion wants to increase its production capacities to a total of 400,000 electric cars annually with a second plant.
In addition to the 144.4 kWh version, Aion offers three other versions of the LX Plus that use a 93.3 kWh battery. The base model, with a 180 kW motor, gets 650 kilometres and costs 286,600 yuan (39,750 euros). The other two versions use two of these electric motors and offer a 360 kW all-wheel drive. The range is then still 600 kilometres, the prices between 329,600 and 409,600 yuan (45,700 to 56,800 euros). While the all-wheel-drive models can accelerate to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds, both the base and top models (which also have only one motor for efficiency reasons) take twice as long.
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