1000 kilometers (km) seems to be a match point in the smart electric vehicle market. Following NIO’s announcement that it will launch an electric vehicle with a cruising range of more than 1000km in 2022, SAIC Zhiji and GAC Aian also expressed their models. It can achieve a battery life of more than 1000km.
What does 1000km mean? For ordinary consumers who still regard the cruising range as a key indicator for consumption, a car’s cruising range of 1000km means that the charging frequency of electric vehicles can be basically the same as the frequency of refueling fuel vehicles, regardless of convenience and Psychological security has been strengthened. But for car companies, 1000km means more demanding battery thermal management systems, more challenging battery layout techniques, space utilization capabilities, and higher costs. What’s more, in the current background that batteries are afraid of cold, to achieve a comprehensive working condition of 1000km in a real use scene, the above-mentioned difficulty will be doubled.
So, is 1000km an inevitable choice for ordinary consumers?
On January 19th, Weimar Motors Chairman and CEO Shen Hui at the Weimar W6 offline ceremony , Openly questioned the”1000 kilometers endurance”. He believes that for smart electric vehicles, 1,000 kilometers of battery life does not constitute a technical barrier. At the same time, it is clear that if the mainstream models are all 1,000 kilometers of battery life, it will be a huge waste to society.
On January 20th, Volkswagen Group (China) CEO Feng Sihan also talked about his views on”1000km battery life” at the 2020 Volkswagen China Performance Communication Conference. He believes that in the absence of a substantial breakthrough in battery technology, high-endurance electric vehicles need to be equipped with heavier batteries. For this reason, they need to be equipped with extremely high-cost, lighter bodies, so that the cost of the entire vehicle will become more and more. High, so this is a vicious circle.
But why are car companies still happily targeting 1000km? First of all, if battery life can be solved, the current dilemma in the electric vehicle market can basically be solved. Secondly, the accumulation and iteration of technology can make 1000km battery life a reality, such as the semi-solid battery proposed by Weilai and the”silicon-doped lithium battery cell” technology jointly developed by SAIC and Ningde Times. Third, it is not ruled out that auto companies use this to make hype in the capital market.
“The capital market has entered a state where you hear that the wind is rain.” Zhongguancun New Battery Technology Innovation Alliance Secretary General , Yu Puritan, chairman of the Battery Hundred People Association, told the author. The current ternary lithium battery is indeed close to the limit of energy density without changing the material. New and diversified battery technology routes are also being explored, but the laboratory technology must be applied to mass-produced models. There is a long way to go. The first is the technical standards and capabilities to be implemented, the second is the cost and consistency issues after mass production, and the third is safety. Therefore, for a long time, ternary lithium battery will still be the mainstream technology route.
In this context, it is technically easy to realize 1000km, but should we consider the cost? As a consumer product, all technologies need to balance multi-dimensional requirements such as cost and safety before they can be applied in large-scale batches.
Zhang Jianping, co-chairman of Aodong New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. believes that the current electric vehicle market pursues high endurance, which is a waste. This waste is not only the possession of public resources, but also for consumers. For power batteries, the general battery attenuation is about 80%and must be replaced. According to Zhang Jianping’s theory, consumers spend 100%of the battery cost, but in fact, the final 80%of the cost has become span class=”entity-word” data-gid=”13086027″>Silent cost“, so he believes that replacing electricity is the most economical and efficient way to use electric vehicles. However, due to many reasons such as urban land use, it is still immature to promote the power exchange model in the field of private vehicles.
Similar to 1000km, the discussion on technology and cost boundaries is embodied in smart electric vehicles. In fact, it is far more than battery life, but also includes Automatic driving etc. From the current point of view, autonomous driving is also a competitive point in the process of car companies’ transformation towards intelligence. For example, Weilai emphasized the upcoming eT7 in its previous publicity. Its supercomputing platform is based on four NVIDIA Drive Orin NVIDIA Drive Orin chip, the computing power is as high as 1016TOPS, which is 7 times that of Tesla.
However, the founder and CEO of Horizon Yu Kai will be at the”Electric Vehicle Hundreds Meeting” on January 17. As mentioned above, the computing power of a chip is like the horsepower of a car, and the increase in computing power is not sustainable. The main reference standard for chip computing power is the value of TOPS, but this is only a theoretical upper limit. How much computing power can really be used depends on the cooperation with software algorithms.
Like battery life, the accumulation of computing power also indicates a rise in costs. Are consumers willing to pay higher car purchase costs for the so-called increase in computing power and the advancement of autonomous driving capabilities? Moreover, there may be instability in the application of new technologies for high-priced products.
Smart cars are the key track for car companies facing the future, but in the process, should users become mice? The industry needs more rationality.