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The world’s largest EV battery maker is powering up something even bigger. CATL successfully tested a 4-ton electric plane powered by its ultra-high energy density battery. By 2028, CATL expects to reveal an 8-ton civil electric aircraft with around 1,200 to 1,800 miles (2,000 to 3,000 km) range.

After revealing its new Condensed Battery at the Auto Show in Shanghai last April, we knew CATL was up to something big.


With up to 500 Wh/kg energy density in a single cell, twice that of the average EV, CATL said it’s “opening up a brand-new electrification scenario of passenger aircraft.”


CATL has been working with partners like Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) to develop the electric plane. Last summer, CATL set up an aviation unit to design and develop civil aircraft and components like engines and propellers.


According to the most recent news, CATL is already making swift progress. The company successfully completed a 4-ton electric aircraft test flight as work on longer-range models is advancing.


CATL announced Tuesday that it expects to introduce an 8-ton commercial electric aircraft in 2027 or 2028 with a standardized range of around 1,200 to 1,800 miles (2,000 to 3,000 km).


CATL advances long-range electric plane

Robin (Zeng) Yuqin, chairman of CATL, revealed the news at the 15th Annual Meeting of the New Champions of the World Economic Forum (Summer Davos Forum) in China.


Zeng confirmed the electric plane will use CATL’s Condensed Battery. CATL’s high-density batteries are powerful enough for long-range flight, “making them feasible for private and business jets,” Zeng said.


CATL’s chairman also revealed the company is working on next-gen sodium-ion batteries with lower costs, life, and cold performance. These batteries could be launched as early as next year. According to Zeng, on CATL’s 1 to 10 scoring system, the new batteries are already at a 7.


This technology is a really big deal for reducing fossil fuel use. Airplanes pollute a great deal. As battery tech gets better, the ranges will get better as well. I look forward to the day when we can travel using only renewable energy sources.


Meanwhile, CATL continues dominating the EV battery market this year. According to South Korean research firm SNE Research, CATL accounted for over 37% of the market through the first four months of 2024. China’s BYD was second with a 15.4% share.


With clients including Tesla, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and many others, CATL is expected to continue expanding.


To accelerate growth, CATL wants to add two more overseas plants to the six planned in Germany, Thailand, Hungary, Indonesia, and two in the US (with Ford and Tesla).


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