Tesla battery supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) introduced a new sodium-ion battery. The sodium-ion cells combined with lithium-ion will make the batteries great for use in electric vehicles, according to the company.
On July 29, CATL introduced a sodium-ion battery, which has a lower density and uses cheaper raw materials than batteries made from lithium-ion metals. However, the company also unveiled a solution that can combine sodium-ion and lithium-ion cells into one package, compensating energy density shortfalls while maintaining its benefits, BNN Bloomberg reported.
“Sodium-ion batteries have unique advantages in low-temperature performance, fast charging and environmental adaptability,” CATL Chairman Zeng Yuqun said. “Moreover, they’re compatible and complementary with lithium-ion batteries. Diversified technical routes are an important guarantee for the long-term development of the industry." According to its statement, CATL wants to deploy the sodium-ion battery on an industrial scale and plans to form a basic production chain in 2023.
Lithium prices will continue their upward trend in 2021 and 2022 as demand for lithium-ion batteries picks up amid the global shift towards electric vehicles. Therefore, its cost will be kept at a high level. At the same time, sodium has a lower cost and is abundant in the earth's crust.
Besides cost, sodium-ion batteries have several other advantages. Such batteries can be charged for a long time without fear of damage. Also, their chemical reaction does not cause corrosion. At the same time, their lower energy density makes them unsuitable for use in long-range vehicles, but they can be used for low-speed electric vehicles and low-cost energy storage solutions. Combined with lithium-ion cells in a single package, these batteries can yield great benefits, including lower cost.
CATL said that thanks to advances in research and development, its first-generation sodium-ion batteries have reached an energy density of 160 Wh/kg and should exceed 200 Wh/kg in future generations.
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Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.