Leapmotor beats Tesla to unveil first EV with cell-to-chassis battery tech as CATL speeds up its development
The most funded EV startup in China, Leapmotor, would beat Tesla to the cell-to-chassis (CTC) battery technology punch by releasing the first EV with integrated battery pack as soon as this quarter. The C01 sedan may end up being the first commercially produced electric car where the battery cells are an embedded part of the chassis rather than being packed as a separate entity.
The CTC tech uses the car's underbody as a battery box, integrating the cells into the chassis frame and thus increasing the usable volume. According to the chair of the world's largest EV battery maker CATL which also strives to develop CTC technology of its own, it will "allow the cost of new energy vehicles to compete with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles with more passenger space."
Moreover, the cell-to-chassis integration saves hundreds of parts, according to Tesla which aims to complete its development this year, thus lowering the EV weight by 10% and increasing the range on a charge. CTC is also saving about 7% per kilowatt-hour from the cost of batteries alone and Leapmotor says its C01 sedan will have cells with 90kWh of total capacity. The underbody's height has been decreased by 10mm thanks to the pioneering technology contributing to the "wider rear legroom and larger trunk space among peers," according to Leapmotor.
CATL plans to have its CTC solution ready by 2025 with the recent hire of an ex-Huawei AI vehicle control manager, while Tesla was gunning for a release this year. Leapmotor, however, will seemingly one-up everyone by launching its C01, the first car with cell-to-chassis battery integration, in June. As for the safety profile of the integrated cells, Leapmotor says it has subjected the C01 to numerous "bottom ball striking, crushing, and heat diffusion" tests and found out that not only is the technology safe, but it also increases the torsional rigidity of the body by 25%, as well as the battery layout space by 14.5 percent.