In China, the first electric car equipped with a sodium battery has just seen the light of day. The advantage? Completely do without lithium! But did you know that lithium-free batteries were already ready? Do you know everything that changes for electric cars?
In recent weeks, the news surrounding lithium-free electric car batteries has been intense. The global battery giant, CATL, announced the start of mass production of its sodium batteries this year. A few days later, still in China, a first manufacturer presented an electric car equipped with sodium batteries. This is a prototype, but the batteries come from a production line that has been in operation since November 2022.
The sodium battery, which completely dispenses with lithium, will therefore be a reality in 2023. This has many consequences for electric cars. The first is the price. Sodium batteries are supposed to be cheaper than lithium batteries. Above all, sodium is a much more common and much less rare chemical element than lithium.
Obviously, they also do without cobalt (like LFP lithium-iron-phosphate batteries), which makes them an additional advantage in ecological, but also ethical terms. Enough to make the electric car even “cleaner”. Remember, in fact, that cobalt mining is often highlighted because it takes place in countries where respect for human and labor rights is rather weak.
The disadvantages of sodium batteries.
But the sodium battery not only has advantages. It has a lower energy density than lithium batteries. This means that for the same physical size, it will contain less energy than a lithium battery. In other words, electric cars running on sodium batteries will benefit from a shorter range than their lithium-powered counterparts.
On the fast charging side, it would seem that sodium batteries are a little less good, but their rapid evolution could well prove us wrong. In fact, CATL advertises 15 minutes to go from 10 to 80% in the future. A figure to compare with the 18 minutes required by electric cars that currently recharge faster. But also compare to CATL’s promised 5 minutes on the next generation of lithium battery.
For all these reasons, specialists in electric car batteries consider that sodium batteries will initially be reserved for electric city cars, which do not need as much autonomy and fast recharging as large road sedans.
And you, did you know about sodium batteries?
As you just saw, the news about sodium batteries is plentiful, but not covered much outside of China, while these batteries will no doubt be found in electric cars sold in France. That is why we would like to ask you about your knowledge of the subject.
Did you know that lithium-free batteries for electric cars are ready?
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