Zhiji Auto, a joint venture between China's largest auto group SAIC, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech and Alibaba Group, is working with China's largest automotive lithium-ion battery maker CATL to develop a "silicon doped lithium-ion battery cell" technology that is expected to significantly increase the range of electric vehicles.

The two sides will share technology patents and collaborate to complete various tests, and will be the first in the world to apply the battery technology and mass produce power cells equipped with it, Auto-time quoted SAIC executives close to the project as saying.

The report quoted Liu Tao, deputy head of Zhiji Auto's preparatory team, as saying that the battery's energy density will be 30-40 percent higher than the current industry-leading level and can achieve a maximum range of about 1,000km and zero decay for 200,000 km.

"Due to cost reasons, a product with a range of about 1,000 km will be introduced to the market in the next five years." Liu said, adding that this battery will be guaranteed safe through the optimization of the cell material formulation and the all-cast aluminum battery pack shell encapsulation technology, combined with the BMS end cloud collaborative management.

Currently in the mid- to high-end electric vehicle market, the range of mainstream products on sale is concentrated between 500-800km, but with the influx of more players, the range ceiling continues to be broken.

Voyah FREE, the first production vehicle to be released by Dongfeng Motor's Voyah brand, offers both pure electric and extended-range power options with a combined NEDC range of over 860km.

In terms of autonomous driving, Liu said that, subject to safety regulations, Zhiji Auto's automatic parking function is expected to start using in some business districts in Shanghai by the end of 2021 and expand to other first-tier cities and new first-tier cities in 2022.

By the end of 2021, Zhiji Auto will also implement Door to Door Pilot, which will incorporate technologies such as Smart Park In and Park Out, City Smart Pilot, and High Speed Smart Pilot. These features are expected to cover most roads in first-tier cities in the first half of 2022.

In terms of vehicle charging, Liu said Zhiji Auto will be equipped with wireless charging technology on its first product, with a maximum power of 11kW. after the user gets out of the car, the vehicle will be automatically parked through the cell phone APP, and the vehicle will automatically find a parking space where wireless charging is available, and automatically replenish energy after parking into the space, "with charging efficiency close to that of wired charging ".

SAIC announced on November 26 that it has invested in Shanghai Yuanjie Intelligent Science and Technology Equity Investment Fund Partnership. The total capital contribution of the fund is RMB 7.2 billion, of which SAIC will contribute RMB 5.399 billion.

Shanghai-listed Zhangjiang Hi-Tech also participated in the fund with a contribution of RMB 1.8 billion.

The fund also plans to make a special investment with Alibaba in a high-end smart electric car project, tentatively named Zhiji Auto, which literally means Smart Self Auto.

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