CATL to produce fast-charging Shenxing battery in Europe

CATL plans to produce its novel fast-charging battery, Shenxing, in Germany and Hungary. The battery maker’s Chief Engineer, Gao Pengfei, announced at the IAA Mobility that the European launch would follow once production begins in China by the end of 2023.

This was as close as Gao Pengfei came to giving a specific timeline for European production. He also said no offtake agreements had been finalised with customers in the region yet.

CATL’s Shenxing battery could garner significant interest from the automotive industry in any country if it lives up to its spec.

When unveiled in mid-August, the new LFP cells promised to charge 400 kilometres of range in ten minutes due to its 4C charging rate, equivalent to a fourfold charging power (in kW) relative to the battery’s capacity (in kWh). This also translates to a full charge (estimated 700 km) in just 15 minutes at room temperature, and the same charging process takes no more than 30 minutes at lower temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius. The manufacturer also promised “uncompromised 0-100 kph acceleration performance at low temperatures” – but without being more specific.

The Shenxing battery will also use LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) chemistry instead of the more common NCM (Nickel, Cobalt, Manganese) cells found in fast-charging batteries with 700 kilometres of range. LFP batteries are significantly more cost-effective and robust. NCM chemistry, on the other hand, offers higher energy density, resulting in a greater range within the same physical space. CATL said it has fine-tuned its LFP technology and “significantly improved” LFP batteries ready for market use.

Combining substantial range, short charging times, and potentially lower LFP costs, CATL could offer automakers an appealing product – all manufactured in Europe. CATL is the primary supplier of cylindrical LFP cells for Tesla and BMW and has secured supply agreements with numerous German automakers.

CATL started production at its plant in the German state of Thuringia in December 2022. It is reportedly building Europe’s largest battery plant in Debrecen, Hungary, to start production in two to three years.


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