Li Auto to roll out BEV models with CATL's Qilin batteries

Peng Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

China-based Li Auto announced a roadmap for launching battery EV models and a self-developed advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) on April 18. The EV maker aims to broaden its portfolio to include five BEVs by 2025, with the first to use CATL's Qilin batteries.

Li Auto has focused on extended-range EVs (EREVs). It delivered 52,584 cars in the first quarter of 2023, growing by 65.8% from last year.

On Tuesday, the company said at the Shanghai auto show that it plans to roll out one super flagship vehicle, five EREVs and five BEVs by 2025. The BEVs include an 800-volt electric drive system, which is based on the third-generation SiC power module. The vehicles will target a market of over CNY200,000 (US$29,040) to meet the needs of family users, it added.

Li Auto has signed a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement with battery maker CATL. The carmaker said its inaugural BEV will be the first mass-produced model using Qilin batteries.

As for technologies paving the way for autonomous driving, Li Auto said it will release Li AD Max 3.0 in the second quarter of this year for beta testing. The goal is to launch the system in 100 cities in China by the end of 2023.

According to the company, Li AD Max 3.0 is a city navigation on ADAS (NOA) system that functions without high-precision maps. It said from an autonomous driving system perspective, the world is composed of road structure, transportation participants, and obstacles.

Li Auto claimed that the Li AD Max 3.0 can perceive the three aspects of that world purely through vision technology. It also said the system and the related services will be free for the whole product life cycle.

On April 18, Li Auto also revealed a plan to build over 300 supercharging stations along highways by the end of this year. The number will increase to 3,000 by 2025.

China has been in the midst of a price war since the beginning of this year. Li Auto did not follow suit and announced that it will not lower its prices for three months. According to China-based The Paper, Liu Jie, the company's vice president, said except for Tesla, companies that do not offer high-value cars or advanced technologies will be dragged into the price war early.

Liu said Li Auto saw better vehicle sales in the first quarter of this year without any price cuts. He added that starting a price war is easy but not necessarily correct.