Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Faster charging, longer range, more affordable electric cars? Why this new 2024 Chery model looks to mix up the EV market with new battery tech

Is this unlikely automaker going to be the first to usher in the next big tech upgrade for electric cars?

Chinese EV battery manufacturer CATL has detailed a new battery technology which will debut on a 2024 model Chery electric car.

The new battery, which CATL calls the 'Shenxing supercharged battery', is based on the more affordable lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry which is currently used in many base model electric cars like Tesla's Model 3 rear-wheel drive, but with super-fast charging able to add up to 400km of range in as little as 10 minutes.

The downside is that the LFP chemistry comes with several drawbacks compared to the more expensive nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) chemistry used in higher-end EVs.

For a start, while LFP is more affordable to build and uses less rare materials in its construction, it is also less energy dense than NMC, and it is also slower to charge and outputs energy at a lower rate. It is also more susceptible to changes in the ambient temperature, which also has an impact on charging times.

To take a more literal example, current NMC batteries can support 800-volt charging systems up to a peak of 350kW in models like Hyundai's Ioniq 5, while current LFP batteries run 400-volt systems, and tend to be limited to a max of 150kW (although the LFP Model 3 can hit ~170kW on DC charging briefly according to independent testing).

This brings us to the launch vehicle for CATL’s new ‘supercharged’ battery, which is a sedan under Chery’s Exceed premium sub-brand. This brings us to the launch vehicle for CATL’s new ‘supercharged’ battery, which is a sedan under Chery’s Exceed premium sub-brand.

To cut to the chase - CATL says its new battery will be able to add up to 400km of range in as little as 10 minutes, at temperatures as low as -10 degrees celsius. The battery giant also says its new battery is dense enough to offer 700km of driving range. Essentially, CATL is claiming its new battery is capable of bringing the performance of an NMC battery to a more affordable LFP design.

The battery manufacturer - currently the world's largest - says it has been able to 'push beyond the boundaries of the performance of LFP chemistry' thanks to several innovations, including a new cathode design which allows 'rapid response to charging signals', a new graphite ring system which 'creates an expressway for current conduction', and a new electrolyte formula, which CATL says improves conductivity and improves transmission rate of lithium ions.

It is closer to a Tesla Model S in size rather than the Model 3. It is closer to a Tesla Model S in size rather than the Model 3.

This brings us to the launch vehicle for CATL's new 'supercharged' battery, which is a sedan under Chery's Exceed premium sub-brand dubbed the Sterra ES for the Chinese market, or Exlantix E03 for export markets. It is closer to a Tesla Model S in size rather than the Model 3, and debuts a new styling language with a more luxurious interior than we've seen before from Chery products.

While it is yet to launch, even in China, The E03 matches CATL's claim of a 700km driving range and also claims a very low energy consumption of 12kWh/100km thanks to its drag coefficient of 0.205Cd. Chinese media is reporting rear-wheel drive versions will make up to 230kW, while dual motor all-wheel drive E03s add a second 123kW motor and allow a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 3 seconds. Its price in China is touted to start from the equivalent of AU$56,255.

It debuts a new styling language with a more luxurious interior than we’ve seen before from Chery products. It debuts a new styling language with a more luxurious interior than we’ve seen before from Chery products.

No doubt CATL's new battery claims will be put to the test shortly, (particularly as we don't have full specs for the battery to compare to its NCM equivalents yet) with the E03 set to launch before the end of 2023 in China.

The tech could be the next big shift in electric car viability since the widespread adoption of LFP batteries started bringing prices down for more entry-level electric models.

No doubt CATL’s new battery claims will be put to the test shortly, with the E03 set to launch before the end of 2023 in China. No doubt CATL’s new battery claims will be put to the test shortly, with the E03 set to launch before the end of 2023 in China.

CATL also recently debuted an ultra-low-cost sodium-ion battery (with fast charge times, but less energy density), and its 'condensed battery' with a claimed 500Wh/kg the manufacturer said can be used for electric passenger aircraft.