A Chinese consumer electronics giant is betting that high-voltage batteries will provide longer driving range, lighter cars, faster charging, and better efficiency
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Spotted: Chinese startup Chilye, a developer of high-voltage battery systems for electric vehicles (EVs), has raised RMB 100 million (around €14.8 million) from a group of investors led by Xiaomi, one of the world’s largest smartphone makers.
Most EVs operate at 400 volts, but there is increasing interest in 800-volt systems. For example, in 2020, Porsche released its luxury “Taycan” model — the first EV from a major automaker to use an 800-volt battery.
There are several potential benefits to higher voltage systems. They offer more range, lighter car weight, and better energy efficiency, and can also be charged more quickly using fast chargers. These potential advantages are persuading leading automakers to explore the technology, and Chilye claims to have secured clients that include ‘multiple mainstream automakers’.
Chilye’s new funding will be used to ramp-up commercial production of its high-voltage battery system. According to Technode, the company claimed earlier this year that it will have the annual production capacity to equip 3 million EVs with its products by mid-2022.
Xiaomi’s investment in Chilye is part of a broader push by the consumer electronics giant to become a key player in the EV market. The company intends to invest further in domestic Chinese companies in the EV supply chain, and it also has plans to mass-produce its first consumer EV model in the first half of 2024.
Other innovations spotted by Springwise that aim to make EV technology more efficient include AI that helps city planners build EV charging networks, smart charging that reduces the carbon footprints of EVs, and new technology that could revolutionise EV charging infrastructure.
Written By: Katrina Lane