New EV battery design doesn’t lose range in the cold

Chinese battery start-up, Greater Bay Technology, claims to have made a breakthrough in addressing a key concern for electric vehicle (EV) owners—the loss of power and range in cold climates. The company’s new Phoenix cell, made with superconducting materials and featuring thermal management technology, can heat the battery from -20°C to 25°C in just five minutes. This allows the lithium-ion battery to function normally and charge within six minutes regardless of weather conditions, according to Huang Xiangdong, co-founder and chair of Greater Bay.

Read: Inventor of the lithium-ion battery dies at 100

Huang highlighted the impact of cold regions on EV range and the poor user experience it creates, stating, “The Phoenix battery not only addresses the long charging time for EVs, but other pain points. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hot day or a cold day, the Phoenix battery’s range won’t be affected.”

Established in 2020 as a spin-off from state-owned carmaker Guangzhou, Greater Bay has swiftly gained prominence and achieved unicorn status within just two years of its founding. Its first-generation battery, an ultra-fast charging cell, aims to recharge an EV in the same timeframe required to refill a fuel tank. With a full charge time of 15 minutes and an average range of 500km, this battery is already used in GAC’s Aion V Plus electric SUV.

Huang, who studied automotive engineering in Italy and later served as the head of GAC’s R&D Centre, retired in 2016 but returned to co-found Greater Bay in 2020 with fellow GAC veteran Pei Feng.

While mass production will take time, the Phoenix battery is set to power some of Aion’s EVs next year, and Greater Bay is also in discussions with other automakers to adopt the technology. Huang claims the battery has a range of 1,000km on a single charge.

Huang believes that when EVs can match the driving and maintenance convenience of traditional petrol cars, mass adoption of EVs becomes more likely. The development of batteries like the Phoenix brings us closer to achieving that goal.