Electric vehicles (EVs) could soon run on something other than lithium as sodium-ion batteries are emerging that are cost-effective and have sustainability benefits.
- An EV powered by sodium-ion batteries was recently unveiled in China as many EV manufacturers are looking for cheaper alternatives to lithium-ion batteries.
- Sodium-ion batteries have lower energy density than lithium batteries, meaning the vehicle’s charge doesn’t last as long as the typical lithium battery, but advancements are being made to improve the battery life.
- Switching to sodium-ion batteries would significantly lower the cost of EVs as one of the driving factors of price is lithium being expensive.
Why it’s news
EVs could soon be easier to manufacture and also be more cost-effective as new battery innovations are being made.
Chinese EV manufacturer JAC Group and HiNa Battery recently debuted an EV powered by sodium-ion batteries at the Second Chinese National Conference. The vehicle has an alternative battery that runs off sodium-ion rather than the expensive component lithium-ion.
The vehicle Hua Xianzi is powered by a 25KWh battery pack giving it a range of up to 155 miles on a single charge, according to Just Auto.
Lithium-ion batteries are the typical EV battery choice and are expensive because the metal is in limited supply, and lithium is needed in the purest form. Advanced processes refine the metal and make it into the pure chemical properties needed for the batteries, making it expensive to buy and process.
While lithium is limited, Sodium ion is more abundant, and if more processes are created to make sodium-based batteries, it will allow for the batteries to be significantly cheaper than lithium-based batteries dropping the price of EVs.
Sodium-ion batteries are not as effective as lithium-ion batteries, but more manufacturers are making advancements to better the compound and make it more efficient.
While the EV world is getting excited about the sodium ion innovations, experts say it will still be a while before batteries are widespread across the space, but more advancements are continuously being made.