CATL announces bus battery with 1.5 million km or 15-year lifespan

China’s biggest battery manufacturer, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd. (CATL), has announced a commercial vehicle battery with a lifespan of 1.5 million kilometers or a 15-year warranty. It was developed with one of the world’s biggest bus makers, Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co. Ltd., but the battery also suits light and heavy trucks.

The new lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery will be used in future Yutong Bus and Yutong Heavy Industries products. According to Yutong, it will not degrade in the first 1,000 charging cycles. That means this battery with a 500 km range would have zero capacity degradation for the first 500,000 kilometers.

Eight to ten years of warranty?

Until now, the industry has relied on an average yearly degradation of an EV battery of 2.3%, but that proves rather pessimistic as technology evolves. Tesla guarantees its batteries to retain 70% of their capacity after eight years or 160,000 km, whichever comes first.

However, 1,000 to 1,500 cycles have proven possible with up to 450,000 km or even more. California requires EV makers to design their batteries to maintain 80% of the range for ten years or 150,000 miles (240,000 km) from 2026 onward.

World leader

CATL has been the world’s leader in EV batteries for seven consecutive years, according to SNE Research, a South Korean battery and energy research company that analyzed global production for 2023.

According to that report, global EV battery consumption volume in 2023 reached 705.5 GWh, with a 38.6% year-on-year growth. CATL’s EV battery volume reached 259.7 GWh, an increase of 40.8% compared to 2022 and a market share of 36.8%. That’s nearly 21% ahead of the second, its Chinese compatriot BYD (15,7%), and 23% of the third, South Korean LG Energy (13.6%).

What might be of even greater interest for the development of the electric car is that CATL announced at the beginning of this year it would be able to reduce the cost per kWh of its lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells by 50 percent by mid-2024. As the battery makes up to 40% of the cost of an EV today, that might give a considerable price difference in future models.

CATL is also working on beefing up its batteries’ energy density, meaning you can drive more kilometers with the same battery pack or need a smaller (cheaper) pack for today’s ranges.

Last year, the company announced that it would start mass production of a new ‘condensed’ battery with 500 Wh/kg, almost double the energy density of the batteries currently used in Tesla’s cars.

Long lasting partnership

The partnership between Yutong and CATL dates back to 2012, the year the bus maker entered the electric bus market with the opening of its ‘New Energy’ manufacturing plant. In 2022, both companies renewed the partnership for another ten years.

Yutong was also the first to demonstrate in 2015 the world’s first autonomous bus road trials over a 32.6 km stretch of highway between the cities of Zhengzhou and Kaifeng.

Today, Yutong is a well-known brand in the bus sector. It has exported 90,000 buses to more than 100 countries and regions, including France, the UK, Denmark, and Norway in Europe. It accounts for more than 10% of the global market share.

Yutong offers a 5 m-18 m product line-up consisting of buses and coaches, covering segments such as long-distance coaches, tourism coaches, city buses, commuter coaches, school buses, and special-purpose vehicles.


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