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What range anxiety? Chinese battery manufacturer unveils new battery with a 620 mile range

Earlier this month, the Chinese battery maker CATL announced that it had developed a new battery which could be the nail in the coffin of combustion engines.

CATL (or Contemporary Amperex Technology) unveiled last week an electric car battery with a range of over 620 miles, according to a report in Bloomberg.

The battery, 13 percent more powerful than a new lithium battery under development from Tesla, means that electric vehicles packing CATL's new tech could easily exceed the average range of a fully fueled combustion engine (with the rule of thumb being around 300 miles on a full tank of gas).

The Chinese battery manufacturer -- the world's largest producer of batteries -- may have some very early competition from startups in the U..S.

It's not alone in claiming a battery with a 600 mile range.. Indeed, Our Next Energy, a Novi, Mich.-based battery maker whose backers include Bill Gates' Breakthrough Energy Ventures and BMW's investment arm, also claims to have a 600 mile battery.

What separates the two companies is the massive manufacturing capacity that CATL can harness and the years of experience making batteries at scale.

CATL will start making the batteries next year and has already signed up two local Chinese manufacturers as its first customers, according to Bloomberg.

“It’s an important advancement for CATL as it keeps them at the forefront on the innovation side,” Tu Le, managing director of Beijing-based consultancy Sino Auto Insights, told Bloomberg. “Being the lowest cost provider isn’t enough to command loyalty, there needs to be more to it -- and that seems to be the Qilin battery for CATL.”

CATL also has a bit more money to spend on developing new technology thanks to a $6.7 billion private investment that the company disclosed last week.


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