Geely’s 200,000 km EV battery reliability claim – valid for Malaysia?
Hans · Jul 2, 2021 12:57 PM
Geely’s flagship EV-only brand Zeekr has high ambitions. The Zeekr 001, the world’s first ‘shooting brake’ body style electric vehicle, had its entire 2021 allocation snapped up in just two months.
Yes, the annual allocation is only 10,000 units – not a lot by Chinese EV standards but Zeekr’s fellow Chinese Tesla-rival and superstar EV brand Nio sells slightly over 40,000 cars annually with 3 models - so Zeekr’s first model is off to a good, decent start.
The Zeekr 001 packs quite a punch – 0-100 km/h in under 3.8 seconds, with a top speed of 200 km/h. The all-wheel drive, 2-motor Zeekr makes 543 PS and 700 Nm.
Prices in China starts from RMB 281,000 (RM 177k), more expensive than the entry Tesla Model 3’s RMB 249,900 (around RM 158k).
But what’s even more special than the Zeekr’s performance stats is Geely’s claim that all EVs built on the SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) platform, which the Zeekr 001 is, are powered by batteries whose driving range (700 km in the Zeekr 001) will not reduce even after 200,000 km of use.
The zero degradation even after 200,000 km claim is a bold claim.
For reference, Tesla provides an 8-year, 161,000 km or 241,000 km (depending on model) warranty, guaranteeing that the battery capacity will not drop below 70 percent within that period.
Zeekr has yet to announce its warranty coverage, as the car has yet to officially go on sale (only pre-orders are collected, all available units spoken for), but all signs point to the company aiming to achieve class-leading reliability.
Interestingly, both Tesla and Zeekr share the same battery supplier, China’s CATL (amongst others for Tesla, Panasonic being the other supplier).
Geely adds that the Zeekr’s battery has a design life of 2,000,000 km, after which the battery’s energy storage capacity will see only some degradation, down to 80 percent. This is assuming that vehicle is driven under NEDC operating conditions
The keyword here is ‘under NEDC operating conditions.’
What is NEDC?
Short for New European Driving Cycle, it is an old lab testing method used to measure a vehicle’s fuel (or in this case, energy) consumption and exhaust emissions in a controlled environment.
NEDC is often criticized for giving unrealistically good numbers and is susceptible to manipulation by manufacturers using downsized, turbocharged engines. As speeds are low and accelerations are mild, the NEDC cycle allows manufacturers to run these turbocharged engines just below their boost threshold, thus providing unrealistically good numbers.
The NEDC method has since been replaced by the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, sometimes also referred to as WLTC) method, which is closer to real-world driving conditions.
Realistically speaking, most users can’t expect to get a 2 million km service life out of their Geely/Zeekr EV, as none of us drive in those ideal lab conditions, whose ambient temperatures are controlled to be between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.
An EV battery service life is highly dependent on the cells being kept at its optimal operating temperature.
Still, Geely says all its SEA-platform cars come with highly efficient cooling systems, and yes, it can cope with warmer climate countries like Malaysia.
“The key thing is battery cooling system. If you have a good cooling system and you keep the cells in a range where they don’t get degradation and if you don’t go over that temperature you won’t have degradation.
“Our efficient cooling system is well tested in SEA vehicles for warmer climates like Malaysia but of course, with warmer climates, you need more energy because we need to use the A/C system to keep the battery cool, at below 45 degrees,” said Kent Bovellan, Head of the Vehicle Architecture Centre at Geely Automotive Research Institute in Hangzhou Bay, China.
Kent is responsible for development of Geely’s open-source, EV-only SEA platform, which is a family of 5 different EV platforms, covering nearly every vehicle segment, from sub-compact cars to full-size cars, as well as commercial trucks and buses.
More on Kent’s work with Sustainable Experience Architecture, which if the company’s claims are proven to be true, will soon become the gold standard for all EVs, can be found here.