Two carmakers are surging to the top at the moment when it comes to developing long-life battery technology.

A two-horse race is on to be the first manufacturer to deliver a “million-mile” battery, capable of lasting 1.6 million kilometres before needing to be replaced.

The competitors are General Motors and Tesla, a clash between the iconic US carmaker with over a million miles of history under its belt and the newcomer Tesla, which has been shaking up the establishment in its push to build innovative electric cars.

As we reported last week, Tesla is already close to unveiling its million-mile battery in China. And now GM’s Executive Vice President Doug Parks has said in a video conference to investors this week that the big Detroit carmaker is also close to delivering its own version.

Interestingly, both Tesla and GM are partnered with Chinese battery specialist CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited) which is proving instrumental in the production of the battery. For Tesla, the million-mile battery is planned to debut in the Model 3 produced out of its Chinese plant.

General Motors only recently unveiled its new Ultium battery, born from a $3.5 billion JV with  Korean partner LG Chem, called Ultium Cells LLC. GM says it will accelerate ultra-fast charging and solid-state batteries through the program, which is currently thought of as the holy grail to revolutionise electric vehicle driving range and useability.

Traditionally, batteries in vehicles only last around 200-300,000km before degrading to the point where they need to be replaced. Once removed, the batteries are usually good enough for a second-life recycling program in plant such as generators, but they can’t keep up to the demands of an electric car.

As far as the million-mile battery, it seems Tesla is on track to unveil the system later this year or early-2021, giving GM a kick in the pants to show us it’s own version first.

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.


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