by Vanessa Bates Ramirez, SingularityHub
Electric cars had their biggest year ever in 2019. As of the end of the year, 2.5 percent of the world’s total cars were electric. It’s a small percentage, but represents significant growth for the electric vehicle industry.
Before electric cars become more widespread, they have some technological hurdles left to clear, including the distance drivers can go before having to re-charge the car’s battery (also known as range anxiety!), and the life of the battery itself. Range currently runs from around 100 miles on the low end up to 200+ miles in newer models, and most warranties run out after 150,000 miles or 8 years.
The latter figures are about to get a big boost after an announcement this week from Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL). The company says it has new battery technology that lasts up to 1.2 million miles (2 million kilometers) and 16 years—and it’s ready to manufacture the batteries on demand.
CATL is the world’s biggest manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries, and currently supplies them to a multitude of carmakers including Tesla, BMW, Toyota, Honda, and Volkswagen. Though sales of cars — like everything else — have slumped this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, CATL and its clients are counting on a demand spike in 2021, once there’s less uncertainty in the market and consumers feel more comfortable making big purchases. “The pandemic may have a lasting effect throughout 2020, but won’t be a major factor next year,” said CATL chairman Zeng Yuqun. “We have great confidence for the long run.”
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