It’s not just Tesla that’s innovating: China’s Leapmotor will soon start producing electric cars with batteries built into the body

Tesla is considered to be the pioneer of electric cars production and it continues to introduce innovative approaches in electric vehicles with enviable consistency. Among them is the integration of traction batteries in the powertrain structure of the body, which will be mastered in the production of a new version of the Tesla Model Y. As it turns out, Chinese companies are not far behind their American rival in this area.

Anyway, as NotebookCheck notes, Chinese company Leapmotor may start mass production of sedan C01 already in June and it will use traction battery integrated into power frame of the body. Previously, the traction battery unit retained structural independence, but integrating the batteries into the power body frame not only saves space and reduces weight, but also increases body rigidity, which is important for the vehicle’s passive safety.

Leapmotor was able to reduce the lower body thickness of its C01 electric saloon by 10mm by integrating the traction batteries into its powertrain structure, and reduce the car’s weight by 10% while increasing the effective traction battery capacity by 7% to 90 kWh. The torsional stiffness was increased by 25 per cent and the space for the battery cells was increased by 14.5 per cent.

Most notably, the world’s leading producer of traction batteries, the Chinese company CATL, plans to offer its partners its own technology for integrating batteries into the body’s power frame by 2025. In theory, this should open up the possibility of using such an advanced layout to all CATL customers, not just Tesla. For now, the latter is only ready to use the new layout in production of Model Y crossovers at its Texas plant, equipping the upgraded cars with size 4680 battery cells. In Berlin, where production of the Tesla Model Y has also started and samples with the new powertrain have already been considered, the cars will be produced in the first months with the old-style 2170 cell. The transition to the new layout is scheduled to take place before the end of this year.