CATL announced its third-generation CTP (cell-to-pack) battery Qilin (Kirin) on June 23, 2022. Since then, the latest progress in the development of this solution for powering EVs has received widespread attention from the market.
Chinese news media reported on March 21 that the Qilin battery has finally reached the mass production stage. Furthermore, CATL said that that Seres and Zeekr are among the EV brands that have been confirmed to procure the Qilin battery. Seres will adopt it for its AITO series, while Zeekr will adopt it for its electric minivan 009.
Also, on the same day, Zeekr disclosed that the 009 will be the first mass-produced EV model to be equipped with Qilin. The 009 is expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2023, or around one to two months after Qilin is in production.
CATL Touts Advantages of Qilin
CATL was the first to create CTP battery in 2019. This solution was the first to surpass a volume utilization rate of 50%. With a volume utilization rate that surpasses 72%, Qilin represents the third generation of the company’s CTP technology. CATL touts that Qilin has reached a new high in the level of system integration. In terms of performance, Qilin has an energy density of up to 255Wh per kilogram, so it can easily extend the single-charge driving range of an EV to 1,000 kilometers. Furthermore, Qilin batteries that are now in mass production deliver around 13% more power than 4680-type batteries with the same capacity.
Thanks to further technological advances, the Qilin battery as a platform can incorporate ternary battery cells in order to raise its energy density to as much as 255KWh per kilogram. With LFP battery cells, the Qilin battery has an energy density of 160Wh per kilogram. Again, Qilin outputs 13% more than do 4680-type batteries given the same chemical composition and the same volume.
Under the structural design of Qilin, horizontal beam, liquid-cooling plate, and thermal insulation pad are no longer individual components. Instead, they form a multi-functional and flexible interlayer so as to raise the efficiency of the entire power battery system. Qilin also introduces an original technological solution for sharing the space of the bottom of the battery system. The protective structures, high-voltage connections, and emergency venting are laid out in an intelligent manner, thereby freeing up an additional 6% of space for energy storage. At the same time, the bottom of the battery system has been tested to meet the safety standards of numerous countries.
Additionally, CATL has developed the world’s first large-area cell cooling technology that shortens Qilin’s temperature control time by half. The technology supports 5-minute hot start and 10-minute rapid charging. Under extreme conditions, Qilin can quickly lower the internal temperature of a battery cell and thereby preventing the conducting of heat between cells.
Several EV Models Have Adopted Qilin
The Qilin battery was officially launched on August 27, 2022. Two months after, CATL announced that the Zeekr 009 and the Seres AITO would be the first EV models equipped with this platform.
The electric minivan 009 will be launched first. According to the available information, Zeekr will also be adopting Qilin for its electric sports sedan 001. The 001 could become the first of its kind in the world to have a single-charge driving range of more than 1,000 kilometers.
Zeekr is a brand under Geely Auto for smart pure electric vehicles. It was established in July 2021. Its legal representative is named An Conghui, and its chairman is Li Shufu, who also serves as the chairman of Geely Holding Group.
Besides Zeekr, CATL has also managed to get Seres to adopt Qilin for the AITO series of EVs. CATL and Seres have actually signed a five-year strategic cooperation agreement that will see Seres use Qilin batteries for the entire line-up of the models under AITO.
Co-developed by Seres and Huawei, the AITO series is a line-up high-end EVs with prices starting above the level of RMB 250,000. As of the end of 2022, Seres had sold over 75,000 AITO models in total. Also, Seres’ sales data for February 2023 show that the number of delivered vehicles belonging to the AITO series came to 3,505 for the month. This reflects a MoM drop of 21.68%.
This article is a translation of a Chinese article posted by TrendForce. It contains information that is either sourced from other news outlets or accessible in the public domain. Some Chinese names are transcribed into English using Hanyu Pinyin.