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Sodium Batteries Need to Grow Up More Before Dethroning Lithium, CPCA Says

May 24, 2023

(Yicai Global) May 24 -- Sodium-ion batteries are not yet ready to take over the world of electric vehicles until the value chain improves, according to a Chinese industry report. Sodium batteries, which replace lithium with cheaper sodium, can be mass-produced but still, there is no price advantage to lithium-ion batteries, the China Passenger Car Association and Kerui Consulting wrote in a recent report. It is hard for carmakers to be motivated to choose sodium because the supply chain and the techniques are not mature while prices of lithium iron phosphate batteries have been falling, the report added. As there was a tight supply of lithium carbonate and prices were high last year, industry players were scrambling to accelerate mass production of sodium batteries but that need is not so urgent anymore, Xu Xing, deputy head of engineering research at lithium battery maker Gotion High-tech, said to Yicai Global recently. Currently, making sodium batteries costs CNY49,258 (USD6,990) per ton while that should fall to CNY29,976 per ton, or 40 percent less than what lithium batteries cost now, after the industry chain matures, analysts said. Battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology, as well as small rivals Transimage Technology and Do-Fluoride New Materials, have plans to produce sodium batteries this year. So far such batteries are used mostly in small city cars such as Chery Automobile’s iCar 03 and JAC Motors' Sihao Huaxianzi due to the low energy density. Sodium does not have the same selling points as lithium so the two battery types could complement each other, a professor who does research on battery technologies at the University of Science and Technology Beijing told Yicai Global. Sodium ranks better in low-temperature performance and safety so it could replace lithium batteries under specific scenarios, the professor added. The emerging type of batteries should be used in certain scenarios such as low-speed electric vehicles to get to the next stage of industrial use while manufacturers could make hybrid models of combining sodium and lithium cells to balance the performance, the report added. Editors: Zhang Yushuo, Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi Follow Yicai Global on

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