everything that changes for electric cars

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Chinese giant CATL, the world’s largest producer of batteries for electric cars, is expected to mass-produce its first sodium batteries later this year. Let’s go back to this revolution: batteries without lithium!

Audi factory
Audi factory

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Almost every electric vehicle on the planet uses lithium ion batteries. This chemistry is mastered at the level of its industrialization, but also Relatively inexpensive considering current large volumes. However, not everything is perfect, and it may be necessary to stop using lithium in the future. CATL seems to have a solution with sodium based batteries.

Goodbye lithium, long live sodium

With several kilograms of lithium in every electric vehicle battery, this chemical compound is very important to all manufacturers. The problem is that the largest producers, which are Chile and Australia, are located far from the battery production plants. Therefore, the ecological impact of lithium is very real, as it must be transported thousands of kilometers before being integrated into a battery.

The rest, lithium operating conditions can have a negative impact on the environmentin particular due to a necessary water supply for lithium mines.

The other problem with lithium is the risk of shortages in the coming years, as announced by Toyota or more recently in Germany.

The solution of using sodium, a much less rare element on the planet, is excellent, but so far the energy density of sodium ion batteries has been subpar.

The CATL plant in Germany
The CATL plant in Germany

CATL announced several months ago that it was working on sodium-ion batteries in the lab, with a promise for the future that will interest all future EV buyers: less expensive batteries.

Today we learn that alternatives to lithium, such as sodium ion batteries, will be industrialized by CATL in the course of 2023. This means that the first vehicles equipped with this type of battery would arrive. on the roads at the dawn of 2024with the advantages and disadvantages that this brings.

In addition to these sodium-ion batteries, CATL’s Qilin battery will go into series production in the first quarter of 2023, with the latter promising recharges in the blink of an eye and a range that far exceeds that of current batteries: 1,000 km of autonomy and a recharge in 10 minutes. It is this battery that is found in the Geely Zeekr 001.

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